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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin

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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin
page 485



The so-called Church of the Holy Sepulchre is situated in the western part of the city, north of what is now called Mount Zion. There, according to the voice of tradition, were erected the buildings of Constantino, and there has existed, ever since, the cave which Christians have reverenced as the Sepulchre in which our Lord lay. Mr. Fergusson maintains, on the other hand, that the Dome of the Rock is a building erected by Constantine to cover the Sepulchre of our Lord, and that the cave in the rock is the Sepulchre itself. To support this he endeavours to prove that the rock was not enclosed by the city walls at the time of the crucifixion ; that the cave may very well have been a tomb : and that, independent of all argument from architecture, the description of historians and pilgrims accord with his position of the church, up to the end of the tenth century, over the rock in the Haram Area. And at some period, most probably after the demolition by Hakem in 969, the Christians abandoned the old site, and collected money to build a new church on the present site, which they pretended was the real site. There are three ways of considering the question : by excavation, by history, and by arguments derived from a study of the architecture. For the first, Captain Warren is the only person who has excavated, on a scale of sufficient magnitude to produce results which bear upon the question at all. We subjoin a few of his results and opinions, with one or two brief explanatory remarks : (1.) He has made a contour map This makes the altar of of the whole hill on whicb the Haram Solomon's Temple, provided Area stands. From this, a most that was in the south-west important contribution to the topo- angle, some forty feet below graphical question, it appears that the present surface. But the hill was, much as Josephus was not the altar on the describes it, steep and almost precipi- threshing-floor of Arannah? tous. From the top of the rock to Further, the threshingthe lowest point in the south wall, a floors of Syria are now distance of seven hundred feet, there about the tops of high is a dip of one hundred and fifty feet, places, open to the four i.e., one in five. winds, and not on slopes, particularly steep slopes. (2.) He thinks that the cast wall By Mr. Fergusson's is the most ancient, and the south- theory, the east wall is west angle a later addition, probably more modern than the west; of Herod. His opinion is principally but see, below, the evidence founded on the masonry of the stones of Josephus, p. 5. laid bare at the foundations.


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