Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
StephenGoranson
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Re: Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Post by StephenGoranson » Thu Nov 03, 2016 5:30 am

Note than Joan E. Taylor changed her mind between her 1989 dissertation cited by Annabel J. Wharton (in the post immediately above) and her 1998 NTS article (cited 8 posts above).

Ken Olson
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Re: Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Post by Ken Olson » Thu Nov 03, 2016 7:04 am

Stephen,

Thanks. Yes, I'm aware of that. I first learned this subject from Joan Taylor's The Christians and the Holy Places (1993), in which she held a position similar to Wharton's. In her later paper "Golgotha: A Reconsideration of the Evidence for the Sites of Jesus' Crucifixion and Burial," NTS 44 (1998) 180-203, which you cite above, she changed her mind on the location of the tomb (though her nuanced presentation separates the location of the tomb from that of the cross, which she continues to doubt). I’ll repost the link you gave above to an abbreviated form of the paper.

http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/20 ... px#Article

Taylor is an excellent scholar, but I'm more convinced by her earlier work on this issue. As a caveat, I should say that I'm not aware of a knockdown case showing that the CHS could not be the site of Jesus' tomb. As Taylor puts it: “There is nothing to be said in any absolute or categorical way against the traditional site of the tomb of Jesus being genuine,” (194). I just don't think the positive case is very strong, and certainly not as strong as it is usually represented in non-specialist works.

At the risk of oversimplification, I think Taylor lays out four pieces of (new?) evidence in the paper for her new conclusion in favor of authenticity:

(1) The Gospels seem to place the crucifixion outside the city, but the tomb would have been inside the city in Eusebius and Constantine’s time (194)

(2) There is no authenticating miracle story to establish the tomb, which would have been necessary had there been doubts about the site (196)

(3) Melito of Sardis places the tomb “in the middle of the city” and “in the middle of the street”, which suggests the location of the tomb was pointed out to him when he visited Judea in the second century.

(4) Eusebius’ Onomasticon, written before Constantine’s choice of the site, locates the tomb to the north of (or on the northern parts of) Mount Zion.

The first two points are not weighty.

(1) Yes, if Christians were looking for a tomb, it is possible they might have looked outside the fourth-century walls, not realizing the location of the walls had changed since the first century. But once they had found a tomb, the fact that it was within the fourth century walls might not have troubled them.

(2) Taylor’s claim that there was no authenticating miracle for the tomb presupposes her own separation of the cross from the tomb, which the sources after Eusebius do not recognize. The discovery of the cross is usually in the tomb, and the True Cross (and thus the tomb in which it is found) is authenticated by a miracle story.

The second two points are more serious, as Taylor claims to have two sources pre-dating Constantine’s construction of the church that knew the location of the tomb. They are, however, much less certain than Taylor takes them to be:

(3) We don’t actually know that Melito visited Jerusalem and had the location of the tomb pointed out to them. “In the middle of the street” and “in the middle of the city” may well be rhetorical (“How dare did the Jews do such a thing in broad daylight”). This has been argued effectively in Urban C. van Wahlde, “The References to the Time and Place of the Cricifixion in the Peri Pascha of Melito of Sardis” JTS 60.2 (2009) 556-569.
Abstract
After the time of the gospels, Melito of Sardis is the first Christian writer
of whom we have a record to make reference to the place where Jesus
was crucified. His references to the place of crucifixion have been thought
to reflect knowledge of where the site of Golgotha was located within the
plan of second-century Aelia Capitolina. However, a survey of all his references
to the time and place of crucifixion indicates that they are governed
by Melito’s rhetorical purposes and are not historically reliable.
(4) Taylor’s claim that the Onomasticon was written in the late third or early fourth century before Constantine’s construction began permits of doubt. She seems to be relying on Martin Biddle who is in turn relying on T.D. Barnes. In his earlier career, Barnes tended to assign very early dates to Eusebius’ works. The major argument for his early date for the Onomasticon was that Eusebius refers to the province of Arabia Petra by two different names and he deduces it must have been written at the time the official name of the province changed. This is a weak argument, as someone might well choose to use and older and newer names for the same thing interchangeably (I might say either Burma or Myanmar without really thinking about it). The work also identifies its author as Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea Palestine. Eusebius was not bishop before 313, though the superscription may be a later addition.

More importantly, Barnes has taken a lot of flack for his early dating of Eusebius’ works and has published a paper re-dating the various works of Eusebius, “Eusebius of Caesarea,” Expository Times 121.1 (2009) 1-14. Concerning the Onomasticon, barnes now says: “It shows no awareness of Constantine’s building activites in Palestine, but this would not necessarily prove that it must have been written before 324” (p. 9).

So I’m not convinced that Taylor’s two witnesses actually show a tradition of the location of the tomb that pre-dates Constantine’s construction. Taylor admits candidly that the theory of authenticity still has the weaknesses she had pointed out in her earlier work: For one, she rightly doubts the ancient Christian sources that claim that Hadrian deliberately built the temple of Venus over the tomb of Jesus, so the choice would have to have been a coincidence (201). Second, she allows that though we have no record of a pre-Constantinian (or pre-Eusebian?) source giving the location of the tomb, but contends that the church could have preserved the information without such (195).

StephenGoranson
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Re: Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Post by StephenGoranson » Thu Nov 03, 2016 7:29 am

Thanks Ken.
Taylor's dissertation is fine, but it also could be seen, to some extent, as an "academic corrective," minimizing both what might be called "Jewish Christianity" as well as continuity of some traditions against what could be seen as the maximalizing school of Bellarmino Baggati ofm. I find her later treatment more balanced in terms of assessing probabilities (including "that the church could have preserved the information without such [now-extant earlier written source].")
Last edited by StephenGoranson on Fri Nov 04, 2016 4:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

TedM
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Re: Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Post by TedM » Thu Nov 03, 2016 8:10 am

Thanks for both of you Ken and Stephen for the additional info. Very helpful!

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rakovsky
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Re: Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Post by rakovsky » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:59 am

Supposedly the Church of the Holy Sepulchre covers several ancient sites like Golgotha. Golgotha should have been a prominent place. It seems likely that they would have gotten at least hat location right.

My research on the prophecies of the Messiah's resurrection: http://rakovskii.livejournal.com

andrewcriddle
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Re: Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Post by andrewcriddle » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:24 am

rakovsky wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:59 am
Supposedly the Church of the Holy Sepulchre covers several ancient sites like Golgotha. Golgotha should have been a prominent place. It seems likely that they would have gotten at least hat location right.
The site of Golgotha may well be correct. However Jerusalem was basically destroyed and rebuilt, between the time of Tiberius and the time of Constantine.

Andrew Criddle

Ken Olson
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Re: Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Post by Ken Olson » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:46 am

Rakosky wrote:
Golgotha should have been a prominent place.
What is the basis for saying "should have"? Is this a speculation about what the early Christians would probably have done? They probably would have known where Jesus was buried in the first century and they probably would have preserved the memory of the location through the second and third centuries?

andrewcriddle
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Re: Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Post by andrewcriddle » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:49 am

Ken Olson wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:46 am
Rakosky wrote:
Golgotha should have been a prominent place.
What is the basis for saying "should have"? Is this a speculation about what the early Christians would probably have done? They probably would have known where Jesus was buried in the first century and they probably would have preserved the memory of the location through the second and third centuries?
I think the idea is that the place of public execution would have been well known.

Andrew Criddle

Stuart
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Re: Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Post by Stuart » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:18 pm

TedM wrote:
Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:33 am
There has been recent news about efforts to further explore the alleged tomb of Jesus that is found in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/jesus-christs- ... yptr=yahoo is a sample article.

What are the strongest arguments against the idea that Constantine really did have this church built to include the actual burial cave of Jesus, or one that was really thought to be the actual burial cave?
ROFL, if it's sitting on top of anything, it was the Temple of Venus in the Roman Polis of Aelia Capitolina. At least it's location identifies with that from maps of the Roman layout. I find it hard to believe Hadrian would built a temple on such an exact site of Christian reverence. I'm with Stephen Huller on this, it's a wonderful invention by crafty businessmen selling relics.

There is a Muslim tradition that Golgatha was the rock at the Praetorium on what we call temple mount, above which sits a domed mosque today. Supposedly story goes, this is where Pilate was camped with the legion. In this version of the account it is where judgement is passed, not the execution.

But let's say there was a spot near old Jerusalem (before Aelia Capitolina) the Romans set aside to execute people. Given the superstitions, it seems highly improbable they would built a temple to the Gods on the site of execution of criminals. .... that would be a little creepy, like building a house on an old Indian burial ground. That would be unusual and probably unique in Roman history.
“’That was excellently observed’, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.” - Jonathan Swift

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rakovsky
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Re: Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Post by rakovsky » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:47 pm

The place for the Holy Sepulchre is in a reasonable location for where Golgotha and the tomb could have been.
Image
Golgotha was supposedly a hill outside and near the city walls of the time, which is also a reasonable place for where the Romans could have killed Jesus. In Constantine's time it would have still been feasible to find a place matching the known qualities of the hill, and there reasonably could have remained knowledge up to that time of where the Romans had been preferring to crucify convicts.

Also, there are numerous Jewish tombs in the area, so it's a reasonable place where Joseph of Arimathea could have had his tomb. And it's not too far from Golgotha - the nearing of the Sabbath meant that they wanted to find a location not far from the place of execution.

Finally, the Church of the Cenacle, supposedly the apostles' church on Mt Sion, is oriented towards the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

My research on the prophecies of the Messiah's resurrection: http://rakovskii.livejournal.com

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