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The Golgotha

The name of the hill on which Jesus was crucified appears in all the canonical gospels as ‘Golgotha’ or ‘Calvary’, which is Aramaic and Hebrew for ‘Skull’.

It’s possible that the hill was named ‘The Skull’ because of its shape, but it’s also plausible that it was named Golgotha because it was the site of many executions and crucifixions. Many point to the shape within the rock by the Garden Tomb which resembles a human skull as proof to the authenticity of the site and origin of the name.

Although there is great debate regarding the actual site of Christ’s crucifixion, it seems plausible that this would be the site. First, it is located on a central road which once connected Jerusalem and Nabulus and Damascus (which is why the Gate nearby is named the Damascus Gate). Second, it is located nearby a first century period tomb and wine press. Third, it is located far from the Second Temple period city walls, and according to Jewish custom, burials take place outside the city walls. This supports the depictions of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial & resurrection as written in the gospels as well as some historical and archaeological evidence such as that the Roman Empire traditionally crucified offenders on main roads by market places to instill fear and reverence.

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