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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

GOLGOTHA ( Γολγοθᾶ, Aram. [Note: Aramaic.] נ֖לְנָּלְתָּא, Heb. נּ֖לְנֹּלֶח [ 2 Kings 9:35], ‘skull’).—The name of the place where Jesus was crucified. This name is mentioned by three of the Evangelists ( Matthew 27:33 ‘a place called Golgotha, that is to say, The place of a skull’;  Mark 15:22 ‘the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull’;  John 19:17 ‘the place called The place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew, Golgotha’). The Greek equivalent (Κρανίον) is used by St. Luke ( Luke 23:33 ‘the place which is called The skull,’ Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885). Vulgate uses here the Latin equivalent Calvaria , whence ‘Calvary’ in Authorized Version.

Three explanations of this name have been suggested: (1) Jerome ( Com. in  Ephesians 5:14) mentions a tradition that Adam was buried at Golgotha, and that at the Crucifixion the drops of Christ’s blood fell on his skull and restored him to life. The skull often seen in early pictures of the Crucifixion refers to this. (2) It is supposed by some to have been the place of public execution, where bodies were left unburied (Jerome, Com. in  Matthew 27:33), but ( a ) it is most unlikely that dead men’s bones would have been left lying about so near the city, when, according to the Mosaic law, they made any one unclean who touched them; ( b ) there was no reason why the place should have been named from the skulls rather than from any other parts of skeletons; ( c ) the expression is κρανίου τόπος, not κρανίων τόπος, as we should expect it to be if this derivation were correct. (3) The most probable view of the origin of the name is suggested by the form of the expression in St. Luke, ‘the place which is called The skull.’ It was probably so called because of its skull-like contour. The use of the article by the Evangelists seems to indicate that the place was well known, but they never call it a mountain. The Bordeaux Pilgrim (a.d. 333) speaks of it as monticulus Golgotha , and the expression ‘Mount Calvary’ appears to have come into use after the 5th century.

The site cannot be identified with certainty. All that we know from the Bible is that it was outside the walls of the city ( Hebrews 13:12,  Matthew 27:31-32,  John 19:16-17), that it was nigh to the city ( John 19:20), that it was in a conspicuous position ( Mark 15:40,  Luke 23:49), that it was close to some thoroughfare leading from the country ( Matthew 27:39,  Mark 15:21;  Mark 15:29,  Luke 23:28), and that it was near a garden and a new tomb hewn out of the rock, belonging to Joseph, a rich man of Arimathaea ( John 19:41,  Matthew 27:57;  Matthew 27:60,  Mark 15:43;  Mark 15:46,  Luke 23:53). These particulars are not sufficient to justify a positive decision in favour of any one of the proposed identifications of Golgotha, but they seem to be decisive against the first of the four conjectures mentioned below, to bear against the second slightly, but against the third more heavily, and to be most nearly satisfied by the fourth.

1. The peculiar theory of Fergusson ( Essay on the Anc. Topog. of Jerus . [Note: Jerusalem.] , and art. ‘Jerusalem’ in Smith’s D B [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] ), that Golgotha was on Mount Moriah, and that the mosque of Omar is the church erected by Constantine over the Holy Sepulchre, was quickly shown to be untenable ( e.g. by Bonar, art. ‘Jerusalem’ in Fairbairn’s D B [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] ).

2. Barclay ( City of the Great King , p. 79) and Porter (Kitto’s Cycl. of Bib. Lit. art ‘Golgotha’) maintained that the site of the Crucifixion was east of the city, between the then existing wall and the Kidron Valley. This place could have been quickly and easily reached from the palace of Pilate and the judgment-hall, which probably stood at the N.W. corner of the Haram area. According to this view, the soldiers, instead of taking their prisoner across the city towards the west, or out in the direction of the Roman road, hurried Him through the nearest gate and crucified Him near the road leading to Bethany. Two objections are urged against this: ( a ) that the Gospel narratives imply that the road passing Golgotha was a more frequented thoroughfare than this road to Bethany, and that the great highways of Jerusalem are all on the north and west of the city; and ( b ) that there is no skull-shaped site in this region.

3. That Golgotha was where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre now stands, seems to have been almost universally believed from the age of Constantine down to the 18th century. It is now agreed on all hands that the present Church of the Holy Sepulchre occupies the site of the one erected by Constantine in a.d. 335. On what grounds did he select this as the true site of the Crucifixion? Those who still believe it to be the true site generally assume not only that the early Christians at Jerusalem had a knowledge of the places where the Lord was crucified and buried, but also that this knowledge was handed down as a reliable tradition through three hundred years, notwithstanding the utter demolition of Jerusalem by Titus and again by Hadrian, and the altering of the whole aspect of the city by the latter when he rebuilt it as a Roman colony and changed its name to Aelia Capitolina. But Eusebius, in describing the discovery of the site by Constantine, says it had been ‘given over to forgetfulness and oblivion,’ and that the Emperor, ‘not without a Divine intimation, but moved in spirit by the Saviour Himself,’ ordered it to be purified and adorned with splendid buildings.

‘Such language, certainly, would hardly he appropriate in speaking of a spot well known and definitely marked by long tradition. The Emperor, too, in his letter to Macarius, regards the discovery of “the token of the Saviour’s most sacred passion, which for so long a time had been hidden under ground,” as “a miracle beyond the capacity of man sufficiently to celebrate or even to comprehend.” The mere removal of obstructions from a well-known spot could hardly have been described as a miracle so stupendous. Indeed, the whole tenor of the language both of Eusebius and Constantine goes to show that the discovery of the Holy Sepulchre was held to be the result, not of a previous knowledge derived from tradition, but of a supernatural interposition and revelation’ (Robinson, BR P [Note: RP Biblical Researches in Palestine.] , Boston, 1841, ii. 75).

The same impression is made by the accounts of the writers of the 5th century, who, however, unanimously attribute the discovery not to Constantine, but to his mother Helena. Their story is that, guided by a ‘Divine intimation’ as to the place, she came to Jerusalem, inquired diligently of the inhabitants, and, after a difficult search, found the sepulchre and beside it three crosses, and also the tablet bearing the inscription of Pilate. At the suggestion of Bishop Macarius, the cross to which the inscription belonged was ascertained by a miracle of healing. The three crosses were presented in succession to a noble lady of Jerusalem who lay sick of an incurable disease. Two of them produced no effect, but the third worked an immediate and perfect cure. Eusebius, though contemporary with the alleged events, makes no mention of the discovery of the cross nor of the agency of Helena. But whether we accept the account of Eusebius or that of the writers of the 5th century, the traditional site of Calvary rests on a miracle, and, in the case of the latter, on a double miracle.

Those who now favour this site ( e.g. Sanday, Sac. Sites of the Gospels , pp. 72–77) labour to show that there was a previous tradition which determined Constantine’s selection of the spot, but the only proofs they adduce are: ( a ) vague allusions to visits made by early pilgrims to the ‘Holy Places’ of Palestine, an expression which is used of the Holy Land at large, and not of the Holy City only; and ( b ) the alleged regular succession of bishops from the Apostle James to the time of Hadrian, through whom a knowledge of the place might have been handed down. This regular succession of bishops is more than doubtful. The only authority on the subject is Eusebius, who lived two centuries afterwards, and he says expressly that he had been able to find no document respecting them, and wrote only from hearsay. Moreover, even if it were possible to prove the existence of an earlier tradition, its value would be open to serious question, as is shown by the falsity of other traditions which did actually exist in the age of Constantine. For instance, Eusebius in a.d. 315 speaks of pilgrims coming from all parts of the world to behold the fulfilment of prophecy and to pay their adorations on the summit of the Mount of Olives, where Jesus gave His last charge to His disciples and then ascended into heaven. This is hardly consistent with the explicit statement of St. Luke ( Luke 24:50-51) that ‘he led them out until they were over against Bethany, and … he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.’ Other sites shown to pilgrims in that uncritical age were impossible, such as that of Rephidim in Moab. The Bordeaux Pilgrim places the Transfiguration on Olivet, and the combat of David and Goliath near Jezreel. The fact that no pilgrimages were made to the site of the Holy Sepulchre before the visit of Helena, though they were made in plenty to the summit of Olivet, goes to show that there was no tradition concerning the Holy Sepulchre.

In the present Church of the Holy Sepulchre are shown not only the site of the Sepulchre and the rock of the Crucifixion, with the cleft made by the earthquake and the three holes, five feet apart, in which the three crosses were inserted, but also a great number of other traditional sites. Almost every incident of the Passion and Resurrection is definitely located. The very spots are pointed out where Christ was bound, where He was scourged, where His friends stood afar off during the Crucifixion, where His garments were parted, where His body was anointed, where He appeared to His mother after the Resurrection, and to Mary Magdalene; the rock tombs also of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea; the place where Helena’s throne stood during the ‘Invention of the Cross,’—and many others. The number of these identifications, all under one roof, does not increase our confidence in ecclesiastical tradition.

Not less damaging to the claims of the traditional site is the topographical evidence. Our Lord suffered ‘without the gate’ ( Hebrews 13:12). The Church of the Holy Sepulchre lies far within the walls of the present city, and, as Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion was much larger than it is now, the fair presumption is that it included the site of that church rather than excluded it. If we place Golgotha at the traditional site, we make Jerusalem at the time of its greatest prosperity no larger than the poverty-stricken town of the present day, ‘containing not far from 200 acres, from which 36 acres must be deducted for the Haram area’ (Merrill). This difficulty arising from the present location in the heart of the city seems to have been felt as early as the 8th cent., and also in the 12th and 14th, but the first to reject the tradition openly was Korte, who visited Jerusalem in 1738, and who urged that the traditional site could not have been outside the ancient city, because of its nearness to the former area of the Jewish temple. The argument against this site has been greatly strengthened by the determination of the rock levels of Jerusalem and the probable course of the ‘second wall’ of the three mentioned by Josephus. The first wall, that of David and Solomon, encompassed the Upper City (Zion), and its north line ran eastward from the tower of Hippicus to the wall bounding the temple area. ‘The second wall had its beginning from the gate called Gennath, which belonged to the first wall, and, encircling only the northern quarter of the city, it extended as far as the Tower Antonia’ ( BJ v. iv. 2). This wall, which was probably built by Hezekiah, running in a circle or curve, seems to have had no angles like the first and third, and therefore to have required no extended description. If this curve included the Pool of Hezekiah (which must surely have been within the walls), it would naturally have included also the traditional site of the Sepulchre. If, in spite of the statement of Josephus, the wall be drawn with a re-entering angle so as to exclude the traditional site, there still remain apparently insuperable difficulties in the nature of the ground, since in this case the wall must have been built in a deep valley (Tyropœon), and must have been dominated from without by the adjacent knoll on which the Church of the Holy Sepulchre now stands (Acra). But ‘fortresses stand on hills, not in deep ravines,’ ‘the wall must have stood on the high ground ’ (Conder). Immediately east of the Tower of David (at or near which Hippicus must have stood) a narrow ridge runs north and south, connecting the two hills Zion and Acra and separating the head of the Tyropœon Valley from the valley west of the Jaffa gate. As this is the only place where the wall could have protected the valley on the east and commanded the valley on the west, the natural course for the engineers would have been to build the wall along this ridge. Exactly along this ridge the remains of an ancient wall were found in 1885 by Dr. Merrill. One hundred and twenty feet of it were exposed in a line running north-west and south-east, at a depth of 10 or 12 ft. below the present surface of the ground. At some points but one course of stone remained, at others two, at others three. The stones correspond in size and work to those in the base of the Tower of David, a few yards farther south. This is probably a portion of the second wall. Later, another section, 26 ft. long, of similar work, was found farther north, besides traces at several other points. In explanation of the fact that entire sections are found towards the south and only debris of walls towards the north, Dr. Merrill cites the statement of Josephus, that Titus ‘threw down the entire northern portion,’ but left the southern standing and placed garrisons in its towers. From the statement that Titus made his attack ‘against the central tower of the north wall’ he argues further, that if the wall ran from near Hippicus to Antonia in such a way as to exclude the traditional site of the Sepulchre, the two parts of the wall after it was broken in the middle should have been designated the ‘eastern’ and ‘western’; but Josephus calls them the ‘northern’ and ‘southern,’ a description which is obviously more appropriate to a wall which ran well to the west and north of the traditional site ( Presb. and Ref. Rev. iii. p. 646).

Parts of an ancient ditch and remains of walls have been recently discovered east of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Schick regards these as remains of the second wall and of the city moat. But, as Benzinger says (Hilprecht’s Explorations in Bible Lands in the 19th Cent. ), his explanation ‘is not convincing in itself, and there stand opposed to it important considerations of a general nature,’ such as have been cited above, e.g. the military objection to locating a wall in a valley dominated from without by higher ground, and the fact that, had this been the course of the wall, Jerusalem could not have accommodated its great population at the time of Christ.

The existence of an undoubted Jewish tomb at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the one now called the Tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea, has been cited as evidence that the place was outside the old city wall, ‘but we know from the Talmud that ancient half-forgotten tombs were allowed by the Jews to exist within Jerusalem, and any writer will admit that, in the time of Agrippa at least, this particular tomb was within the circuit of the town.’ The third wall, which ran far to the north-west and north of the present city wall, was built by Agrippa only ten or eleven years after the Crucifixion, to enclose a large suburb that had gradually extended beyond the second wall. So that, even if it could be shown that the Sepulchre was outside the second wall, it certainly lay far within the line of the third, and in the midst of this new town which at the time of the Crucifixion must have been already growing north of the second wall. The words ‘without the gate’ and ‘nigh to the city’ could scarcely mean ‘within the suburbs’ (Schaff).

The genuineness of the traditional site has been defended by Chateaubriand ( Itinéraire de Paris à Jerusalem ), Williams ( The Holy City ), Krafft ( Die Topographie Jerusalems ), Tischendorf ( Reise in den Orient ), de Vogué ( Les Églises de la Terre-Sainte ), Sepp ( Jerusalem ), Clermont-Ganneau ( L’Authenticite du Saint-Sepulcre ), Sanday ( Sacred Sites of the Gospels ), and others. It has been attacked by Korte ( Reise nach dem gelobten Lande ), Robinson ( BR P [Note: RP Biblical Researches in Palestine.] , and Bibliotheca Sacra for August and November 1847), Tobler ( Golgotha ), Wilson ( The Lands of the Bible ), Barclay ( The City of the Great King ), Schaff ( Through Bible Lands ), Conder ( Tent Work in Palestine ), and others.

4. The theory that Golgotha is the skull-shaped knoll above Jeremiah’s grotto, outside the present north wall, near the Damascus gate, was first suggested by Otto Thenius in 1849. A similar view was put forward independently by Fisher Howe ( The True Site of Calvary ) in 1871. Since that time the theory has come rapidly into favour, and has been accepted by Gen. [Note: Geneva NT 1557, Bible 1560.] C. E. Gordon, Sir J. W. Dawson, Dr. Merrill, Dr. Schaff, Col. Conder, and others. It answers all the requirements of the Gospel narratives, being outside the walls, nigh to the city, in a conspicuous position, near a frequented thoroughfare—the main north road, and near to ancient Jewish rock-hewn tombs, one of which was discovered by Conder about 700 ft. west of the knoll. The so-called ‘Gordon’s Tomb,’ about 230 ft. from the summit of the knoll, is thought by Conder to be a Christian tomb of the Byzantine age; but Schick says it ‘was originally a rather small rock-cut Jewish tomb, but became afterwards a Christian tomb.’ The great cemetery of Jewish times lay north of the city.

Moreover, Jewish tradition regards this hill as the place of public execution, and the Jews still call it ‘the Place of Stoning.’ Christian tradition also, as old as the 5th cent., fixes this as the place of the stoning of Stephen. The fact that Christ was put to death by the Roman method of crucifixion and not by the Jewish method of stoning does not break the force of this argument, for there is no reason to suppose that Jerusalem had two places of public execution. No other place would have been so convenient to the Romans for this purpose, starting, as they probably did, from Antonia. The castle seems to have been itself a part of the outer ramparts on the north-east, with the north wall of the temple area stretching from it to the east and the second city wall to the north-west. There must have been some feasible route for the soldiers of the garrison, who were constantly going back and forth between this fortress and Caesarea. There was no such route to the east or south. To go west would have taken them through the heart of the crowded city, with its narrow streets and its perils from the mob. What more natural than that there should have been a road leading directly from Antonia to the open country northwards? Here, accordingly, only a short distance north of the city, we find the remains of a Roman road.

‘If executions were to take place near the city, I think they must have been carried out on the line of such a road, where the soldiers would have free ground to act upon in case of an emergency, without being hampered by crowded streets, and where only one gate would be between them and their stronghold, and that one entirely under their own control’ (Merrill).

Literature.—Artt. ‘Golgotha’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible and Encyc. Bibl. , ‘Sepulchre, The Holy,’ in Encyc. Brit. 9 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] , ‘Grab, das heilige,’ in PR E [Note: RE Real-Encyklopädie fur protest. Theologic und Kirche.] 3 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] ; Conder, Tent Work in Palestine , i. 372 ff.; SW P [Note: WP Memoirs of the Survey of W. Palestine.] ‘Jerusalem,’ 429 ff.; Merrill in Andover Rev. , 1885, p. 483 ff.; PEFS t [Note: EFSt Quarterly Statement of the same.] , 1892, pp. 120 ff., 177, 188, 205; Wilson, Golgotha and the Holy Sepulchre , 1906; and works cited in the article.

W. W. Moore.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

GOLGOTHA (  Matthew 27:33 ,   Mark 15:22 ,   John 19:17 , from the Aram. [Note: Aramaic.] Gulgalta . In   Luke 23:33 the place is called Kranion (RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘the skull,’ AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘ Calvary ’)). The situation was evidently outside the city (  Hebrews 13:12 ), but near it (  John 19:20 ); it was a site visible afar off (  Mark 15:40 ,   Luke 23:49 ), and was probably near a high road (  Matthew 27:29 ).

Four reasons have been suggested for the name. (1) That it was a place where skulls were to be found, perhaps a place of public execution. This is improbable. (2) That the ‘hill’ was skull-shaped. This is a popular modern view. Against it may be urged that there is no evidence that Golgotha was a hill at all. See also below. (3) That the name is due to an ancient, and probably pre-Christian, tradition that the skull of Adam was found there. This tradition is quoted by Origen, Athanasius, Epiphanius, etc., and its survival to-day is marked by the skull shown in the Chapel of Adam under the ‘Calvary’ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. (4) There is the highly improbable theory that the legend of the skull of Adam, and even the name Golgotha, really have their origin in the capitolium of Ælia Capitolina, which stood on the site now covered by the Church of the Sepulchre.

Of the many proposed sites for Golgotha it may be briefly said that there is no side of the city which has not been suggested by some authority for ‘the place of a skull’; but, practically speaking, there are only two worth considering, the traditional site and the ‘green hill’ or ‘Gordon’s Calvary.’ The traditional site included in the Church of the Sepulchre and in close proximity to the tomb itself has a continuous tradition attaching to it from the days of Constantine. In favour of this site it may be argued with great plausibility that it is very unlikely that all tradition of a spot so important in the eyes of Christians should have been lost, even allowing all consideration for the vicissitudes that the city passed through between the Crucifixion and the days of Constantine. The topographical difficulties are dealt with in the discussion of the site of the second wall [see Jerusalem], but it may safely be said that investigations have certainly tended in recent years to reduce them. With regard to the ‘green hill’ outside the Damascus gate, which has secured so much support in some quarters, its claims are based upon the four presuppositions that Golgotha was shaped like a skull, that the present skull-shaped hill had such an appearance at the time of the Crucifixion, that the ancient road and wall ran as they do to-day, and that the Crucifixion was near the Jewish ‘place of stoning’ (which is said by an unreliable local Jewish tradition to be situated here). All these hypotheses are extremely doubtful.

E. W. G. Masterman.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [3]

Or perhaps better read Gulgultha, a skull. This was the memorable spot where the Lord Jesus was crucified; a mountain north-west of Jerusalem. The Romans called it Calvarea, which we translate Calvary. And the tradition in the eastern world concerning it was, that this name was given to it from Adam having been buried there. So that the men of Syria called it Cranium, the skull. But be this as it may, here it was the Lord of life and glory offered up that holy sacred oblation of himself, for the sin and transgression of his redeemed, by which he obtained eternal redemption for all them that are sanctified. Sweet and solemn the meditation, when from Gethsemane to Golgotha the believer by faith traverses the sacred ground. If Moses with such earnestness desired to see the goodly mountain, and Lebanon, as he tells us he did, ( Deuteronomy 3:24-25) because, that there he knew He whose "good will he had begun to enjoy at the bush," would go through the whole of redemption work, and finish it; what may be supposed the favoured contemplations of the faithful now at Gethsemane and Golgotha where they know Jesus did, indeed, according to the most sure prophecies concerning him, complete the salvation of his people! Here would my soul delight to wander, and often review the sacred ground. From hence it was, that clear and distinct views were first taken of the city of the living God. Golgotha's mount opened the perspective of the New Jerusalem, and gave to the eye of faith not only clear and distinct prospects of the certainty of the place, but also as clear and distinct assurances of the believer's right and interest by Jesus to the possession of it. And from that period to the present hour, and so on to the end of time, these views have never since been darkened. The song of faith is still the same, and the triumphs in the cross furnish out the same soul-reviving notes. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance, incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away." ( 1 Peter 1:3-4)

See Gethsemane.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [4]

Aramaic, Gulgaltha , Hebrew Gulgoleth . (See Calvary , Latin) Greek ( Luke 23:33) Cranion , "a skull"; "Calvary" is from Vulgate The "place" of our Lord's crucifixion and burial, not called in the Gospels a mount, as it is now commonly. "In the place where He was crucified was a garden, and in the garden a new sepulchre, ... hewn in stone wherein never man before was laid" ( Luke 23:53;  John 19:41).

The stone or rock perhaps suggested the notion of a hill. Moreover, the derivation of Golgotha (not "a place of skulls," but "of a skull,"  Matthew 27:33) implies a bald, round, skull-like mound or hillock, not a mount literally, but spiritually entitled to the name as being that sacred elevation to which our lifted up Lord would draw all hearts ( John 12:32).

"Without the gate" ( Hebrews 13:12); "nigh to the city" ( John 19:20); near a thoroughfare where "they that passed by reviled Him" ( Matthew 27:39), and where "Simon a Cyrenian who passed by, coming out of the country," was compelled to bear His cross ( Mark 15:21). Ellicott thinks the arguments in favor of its proximity to the present traditional site preponderate; the nearness of the assumed site to that of Herod's palace is important. (But (See Jerusalem ,) The explorations of Capt. Warren favor a site N. of Jerusalem.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [5]

The name Golgotha, which is a transliteration of an Aramaic word meaning ‘skull’, was the name of the hill just outside Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified ( Matthew 27:33;  Luke 23:33;  John 19:17). (The name Calvary is not in the original New Testament, but has been taken from the Vulgate, a fourth century Latin translation. It comes from the Latin word for ‘skull’.)

There is no certainty about which of several possible sites is Golgotha or how the hill got its name. But it was on a main road not far from one of Jerusalem’s city gates, and a garden containing a tomb was nearby ( Matthew 27:39;  John 19:20;  John 19:41).

Easton's Bible Dictionary [6]

 Matthew 27:33 Mark 15:22 John 19:17 Numbers 1:2 1 Chronicles 23:3,24 2 Kings 9:35 Hebrews 13:12 Luke 23:26 John 19:41

Holman Bible Dictionary [7]

 Mark 15:22Calvary Judges 9:53  2 Kings 9:35Calvary

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [8]

The Hebrew name for Calvary , which see.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [9]


Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [10]

Gol´gotha. The original word signifies 'a skull,' as does its Latin representative, Calvaria, Calvary. Different opinions have prevailed as to why the place was so termed. Many have held that Golgotha was the place of public execution, the Tyburn of Jerusalem; and that hence it was termed the 'place of a skull.' Another opinion is that the place took its name from its shape, being a hillock of a form like a human skull. The last is the opinion to which the writer of these remarks inclines. That the place was of some such shape seems to be generally agreed, and the traditional term mount, applied to Calvary, appears to confirm this idea. And such a shape, it must be allowed, is in entire agreement with the name—that is, 'skull.' To these considerations there are added certain difficulties which arise from the second explanation. So far as we know there is no historical evidence to show that there was a place of public execution where Golgotha is commonly fixed, nor that any such place, in or near Jerusalem, bore the name Golgotha. In truth, the context seems to show that the Roman guard hurried Jesus away and put him to death at the first convenient spot; and that the rather because there was no small fear of a popular insurrection, especially as He was attended by a crowd of people. But where was the place? Not far, we may suppose from what has been said, from the judgment-hall, which was doubtless near the spot (Fort Antonia) where the Roman forces in Jerusalem were concentrated. From our plan of Jerusalem it will be seen that Fort Antonia lay on the north-west angle of the temple. Was it likely, then, that in the highly excited state of the public mind the soldiers should take Jesus southward, that is, through the whole breadth of the city? Somewhere in the north, it is clear, they would execute him, as thus they would most easily effect their object. But if they chose the north, then the road to Joppa or Damascus would be most convenient; and no spot in the vicinity would probably be so suitable as the slight rounded elevation which bore the name of Calvary. That some hillock would be preferred, it is easy to see, as thus the exposure of the criminal and the alleged cause of his crucifixion would be most effectually secured. But the particulars detailed by the sacred historians show that our Lord was not crucified on the spot, or very near the spot, where he was condemned, but was conducted some distance through the city. If so, this, as appears from our plan, must have been towards the west. Two points seem thus determined: the crucifixion was at the north-west of the city.

The account, as given in the Evangelists, touching the place of the crucifixion and burial of our Lord, is as follows:—Having been delivered by Pilate to be crucified, Jesus was led away, followed by a great company of people and women, who bewailed His fate. On the way the soldiers met one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, who is compelled to bear Jesus' cross. When they were come to the place which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him. This place was nigh to the city; and, sitting down, they watched Him there. They that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads and scoffing. Likewise also the chief priests mocked Him, with the scribes and elders; and the people stood beholding. The soldiers too mocked Him. There stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, and Mary Magdalene. And all His acquaintance and the women that followed Him from Galilee stood afar off, beholding these things. In the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new sepulcher, hewn out in the rock; there laid they Jesus, and rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher. The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews adds, that Jesus suffered without the gate, subjoining, 'let us, therefore, go forth to Him without the camp (or the city) bearing His reproach' (; Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 19).

We thus learn, as a positive fact, that the crucifixion and burial took place out of the city, and yet nigh to the city; and the statement of the writer to the Hebrews is confirmed by the incidental remark , that the soldiers seized Simon, as he was 'coming out of the country.' It now appears, then, that Calvary lay at the north-west, and at the outside, of the city. The reader, on perusing the abstract just given of the evangelical narrators, combined with previous remarks, will find reason to think that Calvary was only just on the outer side of the second wall. It is also clear that the place was one around which many persons could assemble, near which wayfarers were passing, and the sufferers in which could be seen or addressed by persons who were both near and remote: all which concurs in showing that the spot was one of some elevation, and equally proves that 'this thing was not done in a corner,' but at a place and under circumstances likely to make Calvary well known and well remembered alike by the foes and the friends of our Lord. Other events which took place immediately after, in connection with the resurrection, would aid (if aid were needed) in fixing the recollection of the spot deep and ineffaceably in the minds of the primitive disciples.

Was it likely that this recollection would perish? Surely of all spots Calvary would become the most sacred, the most endearing, in the primitive church. The spot where Jesus was crucified, died, was buried, and rose again, must have been bound to the heart of every disciple in the strongest and most grateful bonds. Perhaps no one spot on earth had ever so many to remember it and know its precise locality, as the place where Jesus died and rose again. First in Jerusalem, and soon in all parts of the earth, were there hearts that held the recollection among their most valued treasures.

The traditionary recollection of this remarkable spot must have been greatly strengthened by the erection of the Temple of Venus on the place, after the capture of Jerusalem by the Romans. The temple thus takes up the tradition and transmits it in stone and marble to coming ages. This continuation of the tradition is the more important, because it begins to operate at a time when the Christians were driven from Jerusalem. But the absence of the Christians from the holy city was not of long duration, and even early in the third century we find pilgrimages from distant places to the Holy Land had already begun, for the express purpose of viewing the spots which the presence and sufferings of the Savior had rendered sacred and memorable. A century later, Eusebius (A.D. 315) informs us that Christians visited Jerusalem from all regions of the earth for the same object. So early and so decided a current towards the holy city presupposes a strong, wide-spread, and long pre-eminent feeling—an established tradition in the church touching the most remarkable spots; a tradition of that nature which readily links itself with the actual record in Hebrews.

Early in the fourth century Eusebius and Jerome write down the tradition and fix the locality of Calvary in their writings. Pilgrims now streamed to Jerusalem from all parts of the world, and that site was fixed for Golgotha which has remained to the present hour. This was done not merely by the testimony of these two learned fathers, but by the acts of the Emperor Constantine and his mother Helena. This empress, when very far advanced in life, visited Jerusalem for the express purpose of erecting a church on the spot where the Lord Jesus had been crucified. 'On her arrival at Jerusalem she inquired diligently of the inhabitants. Yet the search was uncertain and difficult, in consequence of the obstructions by which the heathen had sought to render the spot unknown. These being all removed, the sacred sepulcher was discovered, and by its side three crosses, with the tablet bearing the inscription written by Pilate.' On the site thus ascertained was erected, whether by Constantine or Helena, certainly by Roman influence and treasure, a splendid and extensive Christian temple. This church was completed and dedicated A.D. 335. It was a great occasion for the Christian world. In order to give it importance and add to its splendor, a council of bishops was convened, by order of the emperor, from all the provinces of the empire, which assembled first at Tyre, and then at Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher was burnt by the Persians in A.D. 614. It was shortly after rebuilt by Modestus with resources supplied by John Eleemor, patriarch of Alexandria. The Basilica or Martyrion erected under Constantine remained as before. The Mohammedans next became masters of Jerusalem. At length Haruner Rashid made over to Charlemagne the jurisdiction of the holy sepulcher. Palestine again became the scene of battles ane bloodshed. Muez, of the race of the Fatimites transferred the seat of his empire to Cairo, when Jerusalem fell into the hands of new masters, and the holy sepulcher is said to have been again set on fire. It was fully destroyed at the command of the third of the Fatimite caliphs in Egypt, the building being razed to the foundations. In the reign of his successor it was rebuilt, being completed A.D. 1048; but instead of the former magnificent Basilica over the place of Golgotha, a small chapel only now graced the spot. The crusades soon began. The crusaders regarded the edifices connected with the sepulcher as too contracted, and erected a stately temple, the walls and general form of which are admitted to remain to the present day. So recently, however, as A.D. 1808 the church of the holy sepulcher was partly consumed by fire; but being rebuilt by the Greeks, it now offers no traces of its recent desolation.

We have thus traced down to the present day the history, traditional and recorded, of the buildings erected on Golgotha, and connected these edifices with the original events by which they are rendered memorable. To affirm that the evidence is irresistible may be going too far; but few antiquarian questions rest on an equally solid basis, and few points of history would remain settled were they subject to the same skeptical, not to say unfair, scrutiny which Robinson has here applied.

The sole evidence of any weight in the opposite balance is that urged by Robinson, that the place of the crucifixion and the sepulcher are now found in the midst of the modern city. But to render this argument decisive it should be proved that the city occupies now the same ground that it occupied in the days of Christ. It is, at least, as likely that the city should have undergone changes as that the site of the crucifixion should have been mistaken. The identity of such a spot is more likely to be preserved than the site and relative proportions of a city which has undergone more violent changes than probably any other place on earth. The present walls of Jerusalem were erected so late as A.D. 1542; and Robinson himself remarks, en passant, that a part of Zion is now left out (p. 67). If then, the city has been contracted on the south, and if, also, it was after the death of Christ expanded on the north, what should we expect but to find Golgotha in the midst of the modern city?

Two or three additional facts in confirmation of the identity of the present place may, finally, be adduced. Buckingham says, 'the present rock called Calvary, and enclosed within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, bears marks in every part that is naked, of its having been a round nodule of rock standing above the common level of the surface.' Scholz states that he traced the remains of a wall, which ran as the second wall on the plan runs, excluding Golgotha and taking in the pool of Hezekiah. At most, a very few hundred yards only can the original Golgotha have lain from the present site; and the evidence in favor of its identity, if not decisive, is far stronger than any that has been adduced against it.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [11]

( Γολγοθᾶ , for Aram. גֻּלִגִּלְתָּא , Gulgalta ´ [comp. Heb. גֻּלְגֹּלֶת ,  2 Kings 9:35], the skull, as being globular; the Syr. version has gogulta), the vulgar name of the spot where Jesus emas crucified, and interpreted by the evangelists as meaning "the place of a skull," and hence interpreted by the equivalent term CALVARY ( Matthew 27:33;  Mark 15:22;  John 19:17).

Three explanations of this name have been given:

(1.) A tradition at one time prevailed (see Jerome In  Ephesians 5:14; Epist. 46; De Sanct. Lodis) that Adam was buried on Golgotha, that from his skull it derived its name, and that at the crucifixion the drops of Christ's blood fell on the skull and raised Adam to life, whereby the ancient prophecy quoted lay Paul in  Ephesians 5:14 received its fulfillment "Awake, thou Adam that sleepest" so the old versions appear to have run "and arise from the dead, for Christ shalt touch thee" ( Ἐπιψαύσει for Ἐπιφαύσει ). See the quotation in Reland, Palaest. page 860; also Raewulf, in Early Travellers, p. 39. The skull commonly introduced in early pictures of the crucifixion refers to this.

(2.) Jerome says elsewhere (in 28:33) that it was a spot where executions ordinarily took place, and therefore abounded in skulls; but, according to the Jewish law, these must have been bhuried, and therefor were so msore likely to confer a name on the spot than any other part of the skeleton. In this case, too, the Greek should be Τόπος Κρανίων , "of skulls," instead of Κρανίου , "of a skull," still less a "skull," as in the Aramaic, and in the Greek of Luke. If this had been the usual place of execution, there is no reason why all the evangelists should have been so explicit in the name. That it was a well-known spot, however, has been inferred by many from the way in which it is mentioned in the gospels, each except Matthew having the definite article "the place Golgotha" "the place which is called a skull" "the place (A.V. omits the article) called of, or after, a skull." That it was the ordinary spot for such purposes has been argued from the fact that, to those at least who carried the sentence into effect, Christ was but an ordinary criminal; and there is not a word to indicate that the soldiers in "leading him away" went to any other than the usual place for what must have been a common operation. But the act of crucifixion was so common a punishment among the Romans, especially upon Jews, that it seems to have been performed as most anywhere. (See Crucifixion).

(3.) The name has been heald to come from the look or form of the spot itself, bald, round, and skull-like, and therefore a mound or hillock, in accordance with the common phrase "Mount Calvary." It must be remembered, however, that neither Eusebius, nor Cyril, nor Jerome nor any of the earliest historical writers ever speak of Golgotha as a Hill. Yet the expression must have become current at a very early period, for the Bordeauxix pilgrim describes it in A.D. 1333 as Monticulus Golgotha (Itinnerarium Hierosol., ed. Wessel., page 593). Dr. Robinson suggests that the idea of a mount originated in the fact that a mounded rock or monticule existed on the place where, in the beginning of the 4th century, tradition located the scene of the crucifixion (Bib. Res. 2:376).

All the information the Bible gives us regarding the site of Golgotha may be stated in a few words. Christ was crucified without the gate" ( Hebrews 13:12), "nigh to the city" ( John 19:20), at a place called Golgotha ( Matthew 27:33), and apparently beside some public thoroughfare ( Matthew 27:39) leading to the country ( Matthew 25:21). The tomb in which he was lain was hewn out of the rock ( Mark 15:46), in a garden or orchard ( Κῆπος ), at the place of crucifixion ( John 19:41-42). Neither Golgotha nor the tomb is ever afterwards mentioned by any of the sacred writers. No honor seems to have been paid to them, no sanctity attached to them during the apostolic age, or that which immediately succeeded it. It is not till the beginning of the 4th century that we find any attempt made to fix the position of, or attach sanctity to Golgotha. Eusebius then informs us that the emperor Constantine, "not without divine admonition," resolved to uncover the holy tomb. He states that wicked even had covered it over with earth and rubbish, and had erected on the spot a temple of Venus. These were removed, and the tomb and Golgotha laid bare. A magnificent church was built over them, and consecrated in A.D. 335 (Vit. Constantin. 3:26-33).

There can be little doubt that the present Church of the Sepulchre occupjes the site of that built by Constantine. The only writer who seriously impugns their identity is Mr. Fergusson (Essay on the ancient Topography of Jerusalem, London, 1847), who asserts that Golgotha was on Mount Moriah, and that the building now called the Mosque of Omar, or Dome of the Rock, is the church erected by Counstantisae over the Holy Sepulchre. Beneath its dome is a projecting rock with a cave in it; this, he says, is the real tomb. The arguments on which his theory rests are mainly architectural, and are unquestionalby forcible; but his topographical and historical argument is a complete failure. He says the site was transferred at the time of the Crusaders; but for this there is not a shadow of evidence. Anyone who has examined on the spot the topography of Mount Moriah, and who has closely inspected the masonry of the massive wall which surrounds the whole of the Haramin area, must see that this theory is untenable. The only point to be settled is, whether the church of Constantine stood on the real Golgotha. Eusehius is our first witness, and he lived 300 years after the crucifixion. His story is repeated with some changes, and numerous embellishments, by subsequent writers (Socrates, H.E. 1:17; Sozom. H.E. 2:1; Theodoret, Hist.  Ecclesiastes 1:18). That the spot is now marked by the Church of the Sepulchre was the almost universally accredited tradition down to the last century; for though many were struck by the singular position of the church, yet they got over that difficulty by various means Robinson, Bib. Res. 1:408). The first who openly opposed the tradition was Korte, a German traveler who visited Jerusalem in 1738. He was followed by Dr. Clarke (Travels), Scholz (Reise, and De Golgathae Situ), Robinson, Tobler (Golgatha), and others. The identity of Golgotha has been maintained by Von Raumer (Pal Ä stina), Krafft (die Topographie Jerusalems), Tischendorf (Reise, 2:17 sq.), Schulz (Jerusalem, page 59 sq., 96 sq.), and especially Williams in his Holy City. The tradition that fixes the site of Golgotha upon that of the present Church of the Holy Sepulchre is not older than the 4th century, being first mentioned by Eusebius, and attributed to the miraculous discovery of the holy cross by the empress Helena. Yet, in the absence of any other tradition respecting a site which could not well have been forgotten, and in the difficulty of finding any other position answering to the requirements of the case, we may well coincide in the belief that it represents the true locality (see Strong's Harm. and Expos. of the Gosp. Append, 1, page 4, etc.). The question mostly depends upon the course of Josephus's second wall, and the position of Acra as determined by that of the valley of the Tyropoeon. Dr. Robinson's views of the relative position of these leading portions of Jerusalem seems to be unnatural and untenable, being apparently influenced by an excessive jealousy of all traditionary evidence. He therefore decides against the identity of the site of Calvary and the Holy Sepulchre (Bib. Researches, 1:408-516).

His arguments, however, are vehemently combated by Mr. Williams (Holy City, 2:13-64), and a long and bitter controversy has ensued (see the Bibliotheca Sacra for 1843, pages 154- 202; 1846, pages 413-460, 605-652; 1848, pages 92-96). Dr. Robinson to the last maintained his former opinion (new ed. of Researches, 1:407-418; 3:254-263). Other travelers are equally divided as respects the identity of these places, but it may be remarked that Dr. Robinson's reasoning has failed to satisfy even German scholars of the impossibility of this position of Golgotha. The evidence of locality to be gathered from the Gospel statements as to the scene of the tomb of our Lord is as follows: The palace of Pilate and "the judgment hall stood at the north-west angle of the Haram area, where the house of the pasha still stands. There Jesus was condemned, scourged, and mocked. Thence the soldiers "led him out" ( Mark 15:20) to crucify him. They met a man called Simon "coming out of the country," and compelled him to bear the cross. They brought him unto Golgotha, and there they crucified him. The passers by reviled him. His mother and some others stood by the cross ( John 19:25). "All his acquaintance stood afar off beholding these things" ( Luke 23:49). A combination of these statements of the evangelists shows that it lay just outside the walls of the city, opposite the tower of Antonia, and therefore probably at the northwest. (See Jerusalem). The traditional Golgotha is now a little chapel in the side of the Church of the Sepulchre, gorgeously decorated with marble, and gold, and silver. The monks profess to show the hole in which the cross was planted, and a rent in the rock made by the earthquake! (Porter, Handbook for Syr. and Pal. page 166; Williams, Holy City, 2:226 sq.) See Plessing, Ueb. Golgatha u. Christi Grab (Hal. 1789); Scholz, De Golgathae et J.C. sepulcri situ (Bonn, 1825); Schultze, De Vera Causa Nominis Golgatha (Nurnb. 1732); Themis, Golgatha et sanctum sepulcrum (in Illgen's Zeitschr. f. hist. Theol. 1842, 4:3-34) Zorin, De Christi extra portam supplicio (in his Opusc. 2:193-7); Finlay, Site of the Holy Sepulchre (Lond. 1847); Berggren, Bibel und Josephus Ü . Jerusalem u. das Heilege Grab, wider Robinson und neuer Zionspilger (Lund, 1862); Tobler, Golgatha, seiner Kirchen u. Kl Ö ster (Berl. 1850). (See Calvary).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [12]

gol´gō̇ - tha ( Γολγοθᾶ , kranı́ou tópos , "the place of a skull." In   Luke 23:33 the King James Version it is called "Calvary," but in the Revised Version (British and American) simply "The skull." From the New Testament we may gather that it was outside the city (  Hebrews 13:12 ), but close to it ( John 19:20 ), apparently near some public thoroughfare ( Matthew 27:39 ), coming from the country ( Mark 15:21 ). was a spot visible, from some points, from afar ( Mark 15:40;  Luke 23:49 ).

1. The Name

Four reasons have been suggested for the name Golgotha or "skull": (1) That it was a spot where skulls were to be found lying about and probably, therefore, a public place of execution. This tradition apparently originates with Jerome (346-420 ad), who refers to (3), to condemn it, and says that "outside the city and without the gate there are places wherein the heads of condemned criminals are cut off and which have obtained the name of Calvary - that is, of the beheaded." This view has been adopted by several later writers. Against it may be urged that there is no shadow of evidence that there was any special place for Jewish executions in the 1st century, and that, if there were, the corpses could have been allowed burial ( Matthew 27:58;  John 19:38 ), in conformity with Jewish law ( Deuteronomy 21:23 ) and with normal custom (Josephus, BJ , IV, v, 2). (2) That the name was due to the skull-like shape of the hill - a modern popular view. No early or Greek writer suggests such an idea, and there is no evidence from the Gospels that the Crucifixion occurred on a raised place at all. Indeed Epiphanius (4th century) expressly says: "There is nothing to be seen on the place resembling this name; for it is not situated upon a height that it should be called (the place) of a skull, answering to the place of the head in the human body." It is true that the tradition embodied in the name Mons Calvary appears as early as the 4th century, and is materialized in the traditional site of the Crucifixion in the church of the Holy Sepulcher, but that the hill was skull-like in form is quite a modern idea. Guthe combines (2) and (3) and considers that a natural skull-like elevation came to be considered, by some folklore ideas, to be the skull of the first man. One of the strangest ideas is that of the late General Gordon, who thought that the resemblance to a skull lay in the contours of the ground as laid down in the ordinance survey map of Jerusalem. (3) That the name is due to an ancient pre-Christian tradition that the skull of Adam was found there. The first mention of this is by Origen (185-253 ad), who himself lived in Jerusalem 20 years. He writes: "I have received a tradition to the effect that the body of Adam, the first man, was buried upon the spot where Christ was crucified," etc. This tradition was afterward referred to by Athanasius, Epiphanius, Basil of Caesarea, Chrysostom and other later writers. The tomb and skull of Adam, still pointed out in an excavated chamber below the traditional Calvary, marks the survival of this tradition on the spot. This is by far the most ancient explanation of the name Golgotha and, in spite of the absurdity of the original tradition about Adam, is probably the true one.

(4) The highly improbable theory that the Capitolium of AElia Capitolina (the name given by Hadrian to his new Jerusalem) stood where the Church of the Holy Sepulcher now is, and gave rise to the name Golgotha, is one which involves the idea that the site first received the name Golgotha in the 2nd century, and that all the references in the Gospels were inserted then. This is only mentioned to be dismissed as incompatible with history and common sense.

2. The Site

With regard to the position of the site of the Crucifixion (with which is bound up the site of the Tomb) the New Testament gives us no indication whatever; indeed, by those who abandon tradition, sites have been suggested on all sides of the city - and West Two views hold the field today: (1) that the site of the Crucifixion, or at any rate that of the Tomb itself, is included within the precincts of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher; and (2) that a prominent, rounded, grassy hill above the so-called "Grotto of Jeremiah," Northeast of the Modern Damascus Gate, has at least a very high probability of being the true site. It is impossible here to go into the whole question, which requires minute and long elaboration, but excellent review of the whole evidence may be consulted in "Golgotha and the Holy Sepulcher," by the late Sir Charles W. Wilson, of Pef . Here only a few points can be touched upon. (1) For the traditional view it may be said that it seems highly improbable that so sacred a spot as this, particularly the empty tomb, could have been entirely forgotten. Although it is true that Jews and Christians were driven out of Jerusalem after the second great revolt (130-33 ad), yet Gentile Christians were free to return, and there was no break long enough to account for a site like this being entirely lost. Indeed there are traditions that this site was deliberately defiled by pagan buildings to annoy the Christians. Eusebius, at the time of Constantine, writes as if it were well known that a Temple of Aphrodite lay over the tomb.

He gives an account of the discovery of the spots still venerated as the Golgotha and the Tomb, and of the erection of churches in connection with them ( Life of Constantine , III, 25-40). From the time of Constantine there has been no break in the reverence paid to these places. Of the earlier evidence Sir C. Wilson admits (loc. cit.) that "the tradition is so precarious and the evidence is undoubtedly so unsatisfactory as to raise serious doubts."

The topographical difficulties are dealt with in the Jerusalem . It is difficult for the visitor to Jerusalem sufficiently to realize that the center of gravity of the city has much changed; once it was on the Hill Ophel, and the southern slopes, now bare, were in Christ's time crammed with houses; in later times, from the 4th century, it was the Church of the Holy Sepulcher round which the city tended to center. There is no insurmountable difficulty in believing that the site of the Crucifixion may be where tradition points out. As Sir C. Wilson says at the end of his book, "No objection urged against the sites (i.e. Golgotha and the Tomb) is of such a convincing nature that it need disturb the minds of those who accept, in all good faith, the authenticity of the places which are hallowed by the prayers of countless pilgrims since the days of Constantine" (loc. cit.).

(2) The so-called "Skull Hill" or "Green Hill" appears to have appealed first to Otto Thenius (1842), but has received its greatest support through the advocacy of the late Col. Conder and of the late Dr. Selah Merrill, U.S.A. consul at Jerusalem. The arguments for this site are mainly: ( a ) its conspicuous and elevated position - a position which must impress every reverent pilgrim as strikingly suitable for an imaginary reconstruction of the scene. The very greenness of the hill - it is the first green spot in the neighborhood of the city - may influence the subconsciousness of those who have been brought up from childhood to think of the "green hill far away," as the popular hymn puts it. When, however, we consider the question historically, there is not the slightest reason to expect that the crucifixion of Jesus, one of many hundreds, should have been dramatically located in a setting so consonant with the importance with which the world has since learned to regard the event. There is no evidence whatever that the crucifixion was on a hill, much less on such a conspicuous place. ( b ) The supposed resemblance to a human skull strikes many people, but it may be stated without hesitation that the most arresting points of the resemblance, the "eyeholes" and the rounded top, are not ancient; the former are due to artificial excavations going back perhaps a couple of centuries. Probably the whole formation of the hill, the sharp scarp to the South and the 10 or more feet of earth accumulated on the summit are both entirely new conditions since New Testament times. ( 100 ) The nearness of the city walls and the great North road which make the site so appropriate today are quite different conditions from those in New Testament times. It is only if the present North wall can be proved to be on the line of the second wall that the argument holds good. On this see Jerusalem . ( d ) An argument has been based upon a supposed tradition that this spot was the Jewish place of stoning. This so-called tradition is worthless, and not a trace of it can be found outside interested circles, and even if it were the "place of stoning," it would be no argument for its being "Golgotha." To the Oriental, with his great respect for traditional sites, the church of the Holy Sepulcher, covering at once the Tomb, the Calvary, and other sacred spots, will probably always appeal as the appropriate spot: to the western tourist who wishes to visualize in the environs of Jerusalem in an appropriate setting the great world's tragedy, such a site as this "Skull Hill" must always make the greater appeal to his imagination, and both may find religious satisfaction in their ideas; but cold reason, reviewing the pro's and con's, is obliged to say "not proven" to both, with perhaps an admission of the stronger case for the traditional spot.