Damien F. Mackey
“Dr. Martin [in his book, Secrets of Golgotha] goes into exhaustive detail about why neither the Church of the Holy Sepluchre or Gordon’s Calvary and the Garden Tomb could possibly have been the scenes of the most significant events in human history”.
According to this review of Dr. Martin’s enthralling book, the author (https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Golgotha-History-Jesus-Crucifixion/dp/0945657862):
Using scriptural evidence (which has been under the noses of theologians for centuries but ignored), archeological findings and historical documentation about Roman and Jewish execution practices … convincingly pinpoints the locations of the death and resurrection of Christ as having occured at the Southern summit of the Mount of Olives, not the two different areas that Catholics and Protestants have separately believed and disputed. ….
And here is another assessment of it (http://philologos.org/guide/books/martin.ernest.1.htm):
Recently uncovered geographical and historical evidence now point to the site recognized by early Christians—the southern summit of the Mt. of Olives—and confirm Paul’s indication that the punishment occured “outside the camp.” Reconciles in great detail both Roman and Jewish legal requirements.
This book has extensive historical research to show that the people of the fourth century were deceived in selecting the present day Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This 455 page book has a great deal of carefully researched information that will make the biblical messages come alive as never before. It shows that the teachings of the New Testament about the crucifixion are historically true. It presents a central key to understanding the whole of the Bible.
Finally, Benjamin Hartman provides this more extensive consideration of the important subject (http://www.leaderu.com/theology/stunning.html):
Stunning Answers to the Mystery of Calvary
Scholars Find Evidence of Jesus’ Crucifixion at Golgotha
JERUSALEM, Israel – “There is no question in my mind… the greatest single event in all of history happened on the cross.”
So were the words of Alexander Maclaren describing the importance of Calvary (Jesus’ crucifixion). He continued: “The cross is the center of the world’s history; the incarnation of Christ and the crucifixion of our Lord are the pivot around which all the events of the ages revolve.”
Indeed, for centuries, scholars and theologians have studied the last days of Jesus’ life on earth. Throughout the years, an important question has puzzled many: where did Jesus’ crucifixion actually take place, and was there a very special significance to this place?
In Jerusalem there are several sites which have been suggested for many years as the location of Jesus’ crucifixion (“Golgotha” or “Calvary”, both meaning in Hebrew “the place of the skull”). Two of them are best known.
Northwest of the Old City there is a small hill with features which some say resembles the eye sockets of a human skull. Near it an ancient burial cave is known today as the Garden Tomb.
Another well known location is the present site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the oldest church still in existence. It was built by the mother of Emperor Constantine, Queen Helena, in the 4th century AD. On the same site, before that time, a temple to the goddess Venus was built on top of the remains of a second century BC monument to the King/Priest John Hyrcanus of the Hashmonean dynasty.
|Early Church historians indicated that in the first century, Christians revered the Mount of Olives …. It was the site of the first church and was considered to be the most significant place in Christian history. The red arrow [see original article] marks the place believed to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion near the ancient Altar of the Red Heifer – the Altar of the Sin Sacrifices.|
While much tradition is found at these and other places, “the one thing all these sites have in common is that they are all the wrong place,” says the Christian-Biblical historian, Prof. Ernest L. Martin, in an exclusive interview with the Jerusalem Christian Review.
Indeed, several years ago, Dr. Martin, president of the Academy of Scriptural Knowledge in Portland, Oregon, took a fresh look at the question with some startling results.
“The simplest of my findings revolves around some basic New and Old Testament Scriptures, whose significance has been overlooked for centuries,” said Dr. Martin as he described his latest book, Secrets of Golgotha.
While working with the renowned Jerusalem archaeologist, Prof. Benjamin Mazar, at the Temple Mount excavations in the 1960s, Martin studied the geographical history of Jerusalem with some of Israel’s leading scholars.
“My initial interest in researching this subject was spawned from… one primary fact,” said Martin. “It appears as though the centurion who was at the foot of the cross was able to observe the tearing of the Temple veil [the outside curtain, called in Hebrew ‘Masach’], something that would have been possible only from a point east of the Temple Mount, and not from any point west of it.”
“While this is not evidence in itself,” said the historian, “it did inspire my curiosity.”
Historical sources are conclusive that the massive 80-foot curtain was located in a spot that was visible only from atop the Mount of Olives. “It would have been a physical impossibility for anyone in Jerusalem to have seen this curtain from the south, the west, or the north – the locations of today’s traditional crucifixion sites,” says Martin.
Throughout Martin’s investigations, he searched through hundreds of contemporary and first-century writings, ancient church literature, and the original Hebrew and Greek Scriptural sources.
He found that the Bible itself indicates that the crucifixion occurred in a “holy place” – a place John describes as belonging to the the Temple worship ritual – which the Book of Hebrews refers to as an altar called “Outside-the-Camp” (John 19:20; Hebrews 13:10-14).
“‘Outside-the-Camp’ was not a description but the name of a specific place, known from biblical and contemporary sources,” said well-known Jerusalem historian, Prof. Ory Mazar, the author of numerous books on the history of Jerusalem.
Mazar, who worked with Martin on part of his research, explained that this place, “was the location of the ‘Altar of the Red Heifer’.” Although the altar was located “outside the city” on the Mount of Olives and not on the Temple Mount, it was still an extremely important part of the Temple worship ritual – it was the Altar of the major Sin Sacrifices.
“According to the Law of Moses,” said Mazar in a interview with the Jerusalem Christian Review, “one could not worship on the holy grounds of the Temple without first sacrificing a sin offering ‘Outside-the-Camp.'”
Adding to dozens of additional pieces of evidence, Martin found that the Bible itself identifies the place called “Golgotha” (“the Place of the Head”) in 2 Samuel 15. The “Place of the Head” (mistranslated in English translations as the summit of the mountain) was the place on the Mount of Olives where King David stopped to worship as he was fleeing from Jerusalem to Jericho. The original Hebrew is clear, describing a specific site called “the Place of the Head.”
“What strikes me as incredibly significant is that this would mean Jesus was crucified near the Altar of the Sin Sacrifices – a place that had been the traditional site of the Sin Sacrifice of the Red Heifer for over ten centuries,” said Martin.
“The true place of Golgotha is very critical, because it proves that Jesus Christ was indeed sacrificed, as the ultimate Sin Sacrifice for the world, at precisely the same place which was designated by Biblical Law, by tradition and by the ritual custom of the Temple for the major sin sacrifices to be killed,” said Martin, adding, “It happened on the Mount of Olives in the Holy City of Jerusalem. “This evidence was proof positive for all His disciples to see… that His prophesy came true – He was indeed the Lamb of God!”
Part Two: Not Mount of Transfiguration
Mistranslation of a key Latin word can be the source of some confusion, concerning the Mount of Transfiguration, the Shroud of Turin.
According to the following informative blog, the Venerable Bede re-cast the Latin word britio, referring to a citadel, as a reference to ancient Britain, thereby opening the door to wild theories connecting ancient Britain with the Shroud of Turin, and even the Grail legend of King Arthur (http://theshroudofturin.blogspot.com.au/2015_07_01_archive.html):
The Venerable Bede (c. 672-735), an English monk, learned from a friend Nothelm in Rome that in the 6th century Liber Pontificalis (“Book of the Popes“), Pope Eleutherius († c. 174-189) “… received a letter from Lucio Britannio rege asking for assistance in converting his lands to the Faith.” Bede wrongly included this in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, completed in c. 731, as “Lucius King of Britain” and cited it as evidence that Britain had become Christian in the second century. But German Church historian Adolph Harnack (1851–1930) knew there were no British kings in second century Britain when it was a province of Rome. And that there was only one King Lucius who converted to Christianity in the second century: Lucius Abgar VIII of Edessa, who had visited Rome in the time of Pope Eleutherus. Harnack also revealed that Edessa was sometimes referred to by the name of its citadel: in Syriac Birtha and in Latin Britium. The late second century Church Father, Clement of Alexandria (c. 150–c.215) had written that the tomb of St. Jude-Thaddaeus (1st-2nd century) was known to be in Britio Edessenorum, the citadel of Abgar.
Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 1100–1155), an English historian, in his Historia Regum Britanniae (“History of the Kings of Britain”), did not mention Bede’s King Lucius, but did mention a first-century British king named Arviragus, whom he found in the Roman satirist, Juvenal (fl. 98-128), who wrote in jest: “Veiento … will capture some king – perhaps Arviragus will tumble out of his British wagon”. Since, like Lucius, there never was a King Arviragus in Britain, Juvenal presumably was referring to Edessa’s King Abgar VII (109-116), pronounced “Avgarus”, who had led a failed revolt against Rome in 116. But since Geoffrey placed Arviragus between AD 44-54, he presumably had in mind Edessa’s King Abgar V (r. BC 4-AD 7, 13–50) of the same period.
In the version of the Abgar story current in Geoffrey’s time, the Acts of Thaddaeus, Edessa’s King Abgar V had suffered a crippling ailment, and sent his agents to the Roman governor at Eleutheropolis, a town near Hebron in Israel. Abgar V was then healed by a portrait of Jesus’ face painted in “choice pigments” on a “towel” which was “acheiropoietos” (“not made by hands“), and was further called a “sindon tetradiplon,” (“linen sheet four–doubled“). This can only be the Shroud as the Mandylion/Image of Edessa (see my “Tetradiplon and the Shroud of Turin“). However, this can only be a reference to Edessa’s King Lucius Septimius Severus Abgar VIII, who (as we saw) sent a letter to Pope Eleutherus asking for missionaries to come and preach the Faith in Edessa and had also paid a visit to Rome in Pope Eleutherus’s time (174-189). This is because it was only in Abgar VIII’s time that Roman emperor Lucius Septimius Severus (145–211) renamed the town of Beth Gubrin in Israel to Eleutheropolis in c. 200, and it was Abgar VIII who took that Emperor’s names as his own. Geoffroy also included in his “History of the Kings of Britain” stories about another non-existent British king, “King Arthur,” who according to folklore led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century.
Chrétien de Troyes (1130-91), a French poet, in his c. 1191 romance, Perceval, the Story of the Grail, introduced the Grail into Western literature as a large platter or dish holding only a single communion wafer, representing the body of Jesus. Although French, Chrétien set his story of the Grail in Britain, presumably ultimately based on Bede’s misunderstanding of “Lucio Britannio rege” to mean “Lucius King of Britain,” when it actually meant “Lucius [Abgar VIII], King of Britio [Edessa]” (see above). The grail dish was carried in procession to a crippled king, reminiscent of the crippled King Abgar V in the Acts of Thaddaeus. The theme of the poem was the quest for the Holy Grail by Perceval, a knight of King Arthur.
[End of quote]
And something similar appears to have occurred in the case of the Mount of Transfiguration, as discussed by Dr. Ernest L. Martin in his 1998 book, Secrets of Golgotha. This is explained as follows at: http://www.hope-of-israel.org/wherejer.htm
What About “The Place of the Skull”?
It is plainly indicated that our Savior was led to a place known as “Golgotha” for his crucifixion: “They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull).” (Mat. 27:33). “Carrying his own cross, he went out to The Place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).” (John 19:17).
The word “Golgotha” is also used in the Old Testament and signifies a “skull” in two places (Judges 9:53; II Kings 9:35), the human “head” once (I Chron. 10:10) and nine times it denotes “poll” or “head-count.” The New Testament, however, indicates the connotation of “skull” — “The Place of the Skull.”
Is there any indication in the records of history of a small hill or outcropping on the slopes of the Mount of Olives facing the east gate of the Temple? Indeed there is. A Christian pilgrim known as the Bordeaux Pilgrim visited the area in 333 A.D. In his written itinerary of the trip he mentions that on top of the Mount of Olives there was a MONTICULUS or “little hill.”
Then, to the puzzlement of scholars over the ages, he claims the TRANSFIGURATION of the Messiah took place at this spot. This is a BLATANT GEOGRAPHICAL MISTAKE because the New Testament makes it quite clear that the “transfiguration” took place in Galilee — many miles to the north of the Holy City! So why, then, did he make this claim? Probably because of a MISUNDERSTANDING of the Latin! There are several different words in Latin used to denote the act of crucifixion. One of these is TRANSFIGERE — meaning to “transfix a person with nails or some other sharp instrument.” This word, which means TRANSFIXIATION, is very close phonetically to the word which means “TRANSFIGURATION” — TRANSFIGURARE! Dr. Martin claims that “In spoken Latin (and with various Latin accents found among the pilgrims and residents of Jerusalem when the Pilgrim was there) the words TRANSFIGERE and TRANSFIGURARE could well have sounded similar to the Bordeaux Pilgrim…But even the Latin people in Jerusalem at the time of the Pilgrim were also making the mistake of thinking the transfiguration occurred on Olivet.” (Secrets of Golgotha, p. 61).
It is highly probable, though, that this MONTICULUS on top of the Mount of Olives was indeed the site of the Messiah’s death, or TRANSFIXIATION.
A verse in II Samuel speaks of this very hill: “And David went up by the ASCENT OF MOUNT OLIVET, and wept as he went up…” (15:30). The Septuagint version of the Old Testament calls this “ascent of Mount Olivet” The Place of the Ros (Head). Now just what does this refer to? Notice that the verses in question call the site The Place of THE Skull or Head (Ros) — NOT The Place of A Skull or The Place of Skulls (plural)! It is very definitely referring to A PARTICULAR SKULL OR HEAD! Many people have conjectured, over the centuries, that this phrase indicates a geographical feature that looks like a skull or the top of a skull. But is this correct?
Is it just possible this small hillock on the Mount of Olives was called The Place of THE Skull because it was the burial place of A PARTICULAR SKULL?
Let’s see what history and tradition reveal: “It was an EARLY TRADITION that Christ was crucified IN THE SAME PLACE WHERE ADAM WAS BURIED. S. Chrysostom alludes to it. ‘Some say that Adam died there, and there lieth, and that Jesus, in that place where death had reigned, there also set up the trophy.'” (The Cross in Tradition, History, and Art, by William Wood Seymour, p. 99).
Tentzelius’ “Numial Treatise,” quoted in Southey’s Omniana, vol. i., p. 281, records this amazing episode in ancient history: “The tree [of life], WITH THE BONES OF ADAM, was preserved in the ark by Noah, who divided the relics among his sons. THE SKULL FELL TO THE SHARE OF SHEM [Noah’s son], WHO BURIED IT IN A MOUNT OF JUDEA CALLED FROM THIS CIRCUMSTANCE CALVARY AND GOLGOTHA [THE PLACE OF THE SKULL].”
Isn’t that remarkable?
In early art Adam is frequently shown as rising up (from the grave) at the very foot of the cross, holding a chalice or cup to catch the blood of the Messiah as it fell from the tortured body. Many paintings or drawings of the crucifixion scene show THE SKULL OF ADAM beneath the stauros or cross of the Messiah.
With this newly discovered knowledge it’s easy to see WHY the site of the Messiah’s death was called Golgotha — THE PLACE OF THE (ADAM’S) SKULL!!
This belief that Adam’s skull was buried at Golgotha was common in the early church. Origen speaks of it as well known in his time; and St. Augustine wrote: “The ancients hold that because Adam was the first man, and was buried there [at Golgotha], it was called Calvary, because it holds the HEAD of the human race.” (De Civitate Dei, cap. 32).
St. Basil said, “Probably Noah was not ignorant of the sepulchre of our forefather [Adam] and that of the first born of all mortals, and in that place, CALVARY, the Lord suffered, the origin of death there being destroyed.” (Isa. cap. 5).
The fact that this spot outside Jerusalem is called The Place of THE Skull in the gospels, would tend to support the tradition of Shem having buried Adam’s skull there.
According to Dr. Martin:
“In the Hebrew language this highest summit of Olivet was known as the ‘Bamah.’ It was the ‘high place’ on the Mount of Olives and this is where King David went to worship God overlooking the city of Jerusalem to the WEST. It also answers to the SAME MONTICULUS that the Bordeaux Pilgrim talked about. Indeed, this highest point on the southern summit of Olivet became known as the IMBOMON (which comes from the Greek ‘en bommo’ which means ‘high place’ or ‘altar’). It is this name which has been attached to THIS MONTICULUS on Olivet for the past 1600 years. At the present there is a small Moslem shrine built over the site” (Secrets of Golgotha, p. 61-62). ….