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The Tomb of Jesus

The Gospel writers tell us that after his death, Jesus’ body was taken to a garden and laid in a newly hewn tomb (Matt. 27:60; Luke 23:53; John 19:41). This is important archaeological information. Tombs from this period usually consisted of several burial chambers, which had loculi (burial niches) cut in the side walls in which to place the […]

Golgotha and the Temple Mount

For many centuries, Christians have worshiped at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the belief that this was the place where Jesus was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead. This view was challenged in 1883 by General Charles Gordon, who argued that the Garden Tomb, a site just north of the Old City […]

The Synagogue and Jewish Worship

In cities other than Jerusalem, the synagogue was the center of Jewish worship during the time of Christ. Synagogues were located in most of the leading towns of Israel. Although very little remains of the original first-century synagogue at Nazareth, extensive archaeological evidence exists for a typical Jewish synagogue in the town of Gamla, which […]

Herod’s Temple Complex in the Time of Jesus

When the Gospels and the book of Acts refer to entering the temple or teaching in the temple, it is often not a reference to Herod’s temple itself, but rather to this temple complex, including a number of courts and chambers that surrounded the temple. These latter structures were the great and wonderful buildings referred […]

Herod’s Temple in the Time of Jesus

Herod began construction of this magnificent temple in 20/19 b.c., during the 18th year of his reign. The main construction phase was completed within about a decade. Detailed descriptions of the temple exist in Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 15.380–425; Jewish War 5.184–247) and in early rabbinic writings (esp. Mishnah, Middot). The Roman army under Titus destroyed the temple during the capture […]

The Temple Mount in the Time of Jesus

Herod’s Temple Mount was the focal point of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. Sitting atop Jerusalem’s northeastern ridge, it occupied one-sixth of the city’s area. Under Herod the Great, the Temple Mount’s foundation was expanded to encompass approximately 1.5 million square feet (140,000 square meters). Its foundational walls were constructed using gigantic stones, the […]