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October 20    Scripture



Bible Cities: Golgotha
Ancient Golgotha

Map of Ancient Golgotha


Golgotha in Easton's Bible Dictionary the common name of the spot where Jesus was crucified. It is interpreted by the evangelists as meaning "the place of a skull" (Matt. 27:33; Mark 15:22; John 19:17). This name represents in Greek letters the Aramaic word Gulgaltha, which is the Hebrew Gulgoleth (Num. 1:2; 1 Chr. 23:3, 24; 2 Kings 9:35), meaning "a skull." It is identical with the word Calvary (q.v.). It was a little knoll rounded like a bare skull. It is obvious from the evangelists that it was some well-known spot outside the gate (comp. Heb. 13:12), and near the city (Luke 23:26), containing a "garden" (John 19:41), and on a thoroughfare leading into the country. Hence it is an untenable idea that it is embraced within the present "Church of the Holy Sepulchre." The hillock above Jeremiah's Grotto, to the north of the city, is in all probability the true site of Calvary. The skull-like appearance of the rock in the southern precipice of the hillock is very remarkable.

Golgotha in Fausset's Bible Dictionary 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.

Golgotha in Naves Topical Bible The Aramaic name of the place where Jesus was crucified Mt 27:33; Mr 15:22; Joh 19:17

Golgotha in Smiths Bible Dictionary (skull), the Hebrew name of the spot at which our Lord was crucified. Mt 27:33; Mr 15:22; Joh 19:17 By these three evangelists it is interpreted to mean the "place of a skull." Two explanations of the name are given: (1) that it was a spot where executions ordinarily took place, and therefore abounded in skulls; or(2) it may 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 --for which there is no direct authority-- "Mount Calvary." Whichever of these is the correct explanation, Golgotha seems to have been a known spot.

Golgotha in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE gol'-go-tha (Golgotha, from "a skull"): In three references (Mt 27:33; Mk 15:22; Jn 19:17) it is interpreted to mean kraniou topos, "the place of a skull." In Lk 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 (Heb 13:12), but close to it (Jn 19:20), apparently near some public thoroughfare (Mt 27:39), coming from the country (Mk 15:21). was a spot visible, from some points, from afar (Mk 15:40; Lk 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 (Mt 27:58; Jn 19:38), in conformity with Jewish law (Dt 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...

Golgotha Scripture - John 19:17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called [the place] of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

Golgotha Scripture - Mark 15:22 And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.

Golgotha Scripture - Matthew 27:33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,

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