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Jesus may have been tried here: Archaeologists uncover Herod’s palace

The Tower of David in Jerusalem.

JERUSALEM (RNS) The site where Jesus may have been tried, prior to his crucifixion, is now open to the public for the very first time.

Located in the Old City of Jerusalem, the spot is within easy walking distance of the Christian Quarter and Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where tradition holds Jesus was buried.

The Tower of David in Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of EdoM (own work of user EdoM.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Tower of David in Jerusalem.

Discovered under an abandoned prison building that is part of the Tower of David Museum grounds, the trial site is one piece of a vast excavation undertaken by archaeologists from 1999 to 2000 but sealed off for the past 14 years largely due to lack of funding.

The excavations include what may be the foundations of the palace of King Herod. It was here, many scholars and archaeologists believe, that the Roman governor Pontius Pilate put Jesus on trial.

Archaeologist Amit Re’em of the Israel Antiquities Authority said the palace was built at the end of the first century B.C., according to Josephus, the Jewish historian and Roman citizen of the era.

“It was enormous, with a lot of gold and silver and running water and guest quarters,” he said.

The ruins uncovered by the Antiquities Authority were discovered in the area described by Josephus and included a complex sewage system.

While there is as yet no concrete evidence that the trial took place in the palace, Re’em noted that “from early Christianity until Crusader times the Via Dolorosa” — the route Jesus took on the way to his crucifixion — “passed by Herod’s palace. Only since medieval times did the route change.”


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Michele Chabin


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  • The discovery of a part of a fantastic palace belonging to a well known figure of note of antiquity, that was at one point full of luxurious accoutrements by standards of 2 millennia past is not good enough for some people. Jeez.

    The point of note is there is a possibility (but no evidence) suggesting that Jesus may have passed through it.

    Talk about a lack of perspective!

    Christians feel the need to steal the thunder of actual scholarship and archaeology just to satisfy their itch to confirm their religious beliefs. 🙂

  • 1. I was being a bit facetious. Hence the smiley. Don’t break out the fainting couch yet.
    2. I admit the emphasis on Jesus was only really in the title of the article.

    The reference to Jesus’s trial was treated as a footnote to the story like references o legends attached to an actual place.

  • If Christians are right, Jesus is God incarnate, an eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent source of all life, matter, energy, time and space; the Creator of all creators. If they are correct, this unimaginably wonderful power takes a personal interest in you, so much so that He would die for you. And me. And for each of us as if we were the only child He ever had.

    He may have been in this building in bodily form.

    Given their sincere belief, I think their perspective is perfect.

  • If Christians are right and God was omnipotent and omnipresent yet he needed to send his little boy to die for the sake of not torturing his own creation than Christians are twisted people with quite a warped perspective.

    So while it is understandable how such warped people would think that everything is about their stories – it certainly doesn’t make that perspective justified let alone perfect.

  • Alan would repeat what he just said to any Christian without flinching.

    But Alan wouldn’t dare criticize Islam with such force to a Muslim’s face.

  • You and Alan have the same problem with understanding the Christian perspective, you fail to understand the sacrificial system under Jewish Law, you fail to understand that God does not torture his creation instead Satan does, and you fail to understand that Jesus IS God, that his death is an act of sacrifice and self sacrifice.

    To formulate an opinion on Christianity without even trying to understand these three things shows a warped perspective.

    But your spelling was very good, I’ll give you props on that.

  • Only problem is with the title. When you take the time to understand 1st century Jewish and Roman laws, you realize :THERE IS NO TRIAL FOR JESUS. What is done is a dirty deal,behind closed doors, in the cloak of darkness.