Biblical Archaeology Review 42:3, May/June 2016

Archaeological Views: Golgotha: Is the Holy Sepulchre Church Authentic?

By Marcel SerrDieter Vieweger

Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, and his adjacent tomb were the subject of intense debate in the 19th century. Orthodox and Catholic Christians contended that their location in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was authentic. Some Protestants were doubtful.

To resolve the dispute, scholars needed to determine the location of the city wall in Jesus’ time.

The problem arose because the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was well inside the walls of a bustling city and, according to contemporary Roman and Jewish custom, crucifixion and burial must have occurred outside the city walls. The Gospels seemed to confirm the assumption that the crucifixion and burial occurred outside the city walls (Mark 15:20; Matthew 27:31ff; John 19:17ff).

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