The Religious A priori
actual photo of part of Venus temple found by Carbo
Have Tomb, Will Argue
III. Modern Archaeology Verifies Eusebius Claims.
A. Pagan Sites Over the Tomb
excavation not only recognized the site from its discription by Esuebius but also from artifacts.
Archaeology cannot yet identify with certainty the tomb of Christ, but here is strong evidence supporting the Church of the Holy Seplicur as the original site. The site does date back to the fourth century when it was shown to Constantine. Bruce attests to the evidential support.(FF Bruch, New Testament Documents) . More important confirmation comes from Gaalyah Cornfeld in Archaeology of The Bible Book By Book. (1976). Cornfeld tells us that from early times Christians reverenced the site, but it was desecrated when the Romans put up a statue of one of their gods. Jewish-Christians could no longer worship at the site for that reason, but they continued the knowledge of it until the time of Constantine when they were able to point him to it as the original site of the resurrection. Constantine put up a basilica over the original shrine, the Anastasis. Excavations by V. Corbo found a gold ring with the representation of the dome of the original shrine Anastasis. This indicates that this site was venerated by Christians in ancient times as the site of the resurrection. (and there is an empty tomb underneither it). (See Archaeology of The Bible: Book by Book, New York: Harper and Row, 1976, 271-2).
Chruch of The Holy Seplechur--Government of Israel site, visited 6/7/01
"This courtyard, outside the present-day Church of the Holy Sepulcher, is partly supported by a large, vaulted cistern. The northern wall of this cistern is very impressive, consisting of large blocks with dressed margins, still standing several meters high. It has been suggested that this early wall served as the retaining wall of the second century Hadrianic raised platform (podium). This appears to support Eusebius' statement that the Temple of Venus, which Hadrian erected on the site of Jesus' tomb, stood here before the original church was built."
Virgilio Canio Corbo ofm (1918 - 1991)
Dr. Corbo was a major figure in his field
Alviero Niccacci, O.F.M.
Archaeology, New Testament, and Early Christianity
Tomado de la página del "Estudio Bíblico Franciscano"
"Since 1961 archaeological soundings, excavations and restorations went on in the Basilica of the HOLY SEPULCHRE. The works were done by the three main Communities - the Greeks, the Armenians and the Franciscans. Fr. Virgilio Corbo acted as a supervisor and the archaeologist of the three communities. In 1981-1982 he published a three-volume illustration on the history of the Holy Sepulchre. By combining the Gospel traditions with the archaeological data Fr. Corbo showed that the area of Golgotha was a quarry of malaky stone since the seventh century BC. The quarry was abandoned in the first century BC and all the area was levelled and transformed into a garden. In this garden two kinds of tombs were carved. One is a single burial with an arcosolium arch. It was cut by Joseph of Arimathea, according to the Gospels and eventually became the tomb of Jesus. The other, lying at a small distance, has many burial places, known as kochim. The place remained a garden until 135 AD when, after curbing the second Jewish revolt, emperor Adrian founded a completely new city under the name of Aelia Capitolina. The area of Golgotha was covered under the basement of the Capitolium, a sacred pagan building. In the new layout the Golgotha found itself inside the city while before it was located outside. From Eusebius of Caesarea we learn that Adrian covered with earth the tomb of Christ in order to conceal it. St Jerome tells us that a statue of Jupiter was erected upon the tomb of Jesus and a statue of Venus on the top of the Golgotha. Archaeological excavations revealed sparse remains of these installations. Again, the pagan transformation helped keep the memory of the site."
(1) Venus and Jupiter
Th.M. DTS, Ph.D. Middle Eastern Studies Univ. Texas.
"Excavations conducted in the late 1970's at the site revealed further evidence for this being the place where the original Easter drama was performed. In the lower sections of the Church were discovered the foundations of the Roman emperor Hadrian's "Forum," in which his Temple of Aphrodite had been erected around A.D.135. Hadrian followed Roman custom in building pagan temples and shrines to supercede earlier religious structures. This was done at the site of the Jewish Temple, located not far from the Holy Sepulchre Church, and the fourth century church historian and Bishop of Caesarea Eseubius confirms that it was also done in this case: "Hadrian built a huge rectangular platform over this quarry, concealing the holy cave beneath this massive mound." If the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the actual site venerated by Christians as the tomb of Jesus, it would explain this location for the Roman building."
(2) Was it Really a Roman Temple? What kind of Temple was it?
I'm sure atheists will cloud the issue by probing to find what kind of temple. There appear to be "conflicting traditions as to wheather it was a temple of Venus, or of Jupiter, or even another diety. This obscrues the fact that all archaeologists agree there was a pagan temple there. The evidence points to both, statue of Jupiter, temple of Venus.
Basillica of the Anastasis/Resurrection
Church of The Holy Seplecure
"Emperor Hadrian suppressed the revolt in 135 AD and decided to demolish the whole city of Jerusalem in order to erase all sites which could incite another revolt by the Jewish people. The emperor also forbade any Jewish presence in the new city. A Gentile-Christian community continued to live in Jerusalem and they ensured the continuity of identification of the sacred sites (the first bishop of this community was Marcus).
A coin minted in Hadrian's Aelia Capitolina - Jerusalem
Hadrian thus prepared a completely new city structured on Hellenistic plans and renamed it "Aelia Capitolina" ("Aelia" in his honour and "Capitolina" because it was to contain a Capitol for the Roman gods). In this new architectural plan the Garden of Golgotha came to be at the centre of the new city. Some authors maintain that the area on this Garden became the Capitol of the new city with altars for the three main Roman gods - Jupiter at the centre flanked by Juno and Minerva. Others, quoting evidence provided by the writings of Eusebius of Caesarea, maintain that the temple was dedicated to Aphrodite. Both schools of thought agree that a pagan temple was erected on this site.
Confirming Biblical Hisotry
From BreakPoint, May 2, 2002 Copyright © 2002, reprinted with permission of Prison Fellowship, P.O. Box 17500, Washington DC, 20041-7500 www.breakpoint.org
"One of the most powerful evidences for the truth of the Gospels is found underneath an ancient church in Jerusalem. Ironically, in attempting to cover up the evidence, the ancient enemies of Christianity preserved it for later generations.
Our story begins in the year 135 AD The Roman emperor Hadrian had just subjugated Judea after the Second Jewish Revolt. Hadrian was determined to impose Roman religion upon the Judeans. After destroying the Jewish synagogues in Jerusalem, he then turned his attention to the Christians. What better way to squelch this upstart religion than to obliterate its holy places? The site of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection was known and venerated by Christians at the time. So Hadrian concealed the site under a massive concrete platform and built a temple to the pagan god Zeus on top of it.
Nearly two centuries later the tables turned: The emperor Constantine converted to Christianity. He decided to build a magnificent church in Jerusalem to commemorate Christ's crucifixion and resurrection—and he insisted that the church be built upon the actual site. When Constantine's architects arrived in Palestine, Christians pointed them to Hadrian's temple, which marked the very spot.
The builders set to work demolishing the pagan temple. Sure enough, underneath they found the ancient quarry called Golgotha—and nearby, the remains of the tomb of Christ. Today, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City still marks the actual site of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. You see, the early Christians knew their faith was rooted in historical events. They built churches throughout the Holy Land for precisely that reason—to mark the actual location.
The pagan temple of Hadrian was built on the east-west axis and was surrounded by a Temenos (a protective wall with its façade on the Cardus Maximus from where you entered into the sacred enclosure). St. Jerome, in a letter to Paulinus in 395 says that:
"Since the times of Hadrian up to the empire of Constantine, for almost 180 years, the statue of Jupiter was venerated on the place of the Resurrection and on the rock of the cross a marble statue of Venus placed there by the gentiles. In the intentions of the perpetrators of the persecutions they would have removed our faith in the resurrection in the cross had they profaned the holy sites with idols".
From these descriptions, confirmed also by the archaeological research carried out in the area, we know that this pagan temple of Aelia transformed the Judeo-Christian site into a pagan one by placing the cult of Jupiter on the tomb of the Lord and that of Venus on Calvary. This situation continued for about 180 years as is stated by Jerome himself.
B. Biddle Excavation.
Drawing upon work done in the 1980s in relation to accessing damages for repair, one of the most prominate British Archaeologists, Martin Biddle, with his wife, excavated the site and found that it may well be the actual tomb.
"The study by Professor Martin Biddle, Professor of Medieval Archaeology, and his wife, the Danish archaeologist, Birthe Kjobye-Biddle, shows how a tomb found in AD 325–6 under a Roman temple, has a good claim to be the tomb in which the body of Christ was laid on the evening of the crucifixion in AD 30 or 33. It also explores how it has fared over the centuries."
Biddle's data is distilled into a book entitaled The Tomb of Christ
Biddle helps to confrim the authenticity of the site as that of Constantine, he also verifies some of Eusebius' observations. Corbo verifies the site as connected to first century oral tradition and veneration. Thus, the site's authenticity is a high probability. There are no counter arguments and no alternate sites with any real claim to the title.
Next: part 3, Eusebius.
The Religious A priori