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to the other, its bottom being flat and raised about two feet above the floor, and its upper surface or soffit also flat and parallel to the lower one, with just space enough between them for the body to be pushed into its place. In fact, it precisely resembles the form of the ordinary receptacles for bodies, which are to be seen in the Christian catacombs of Rome. surface were curved into the form of an arch, would correspond exactly with the descriptions of Arculfus and other early writers, which, as I have already shewn, cer
This, if the upper
tainly represent the sepulchral cavity as a cavern-like opening excavated out of the rocky wall of the chamber, and not as an altar-tomb, standing within it, as the present structure is arranged”.
* Cotovicus (p. 181) completely adopts this view, and even borrows Zuallardo's cut of the said Hill Tomb to represent the Holy Sepulchre, adding, that it is evident that it was not after the fashion of a square tomb open at top, as many think, and as it is always represented; but was cut in the north side of the cave, and open to the south, where the body was inserted so that those who looked in through the small door of the cave, might easily see the place where the body had lain, and also the linen clothes and the napkin, all which they could not have done if it had been a hollow tomb. In describing the rock tombs of Macri, the ancient Telmessus, Clarke says, (Vol. 11. p. 252), “A small rectangular opening, scarcely large enough to pass through, admitted us to the interior—where we found a square chamber with one or more receptacles for dead bodies, shaped like baths, upon the sides of the apartment, and neatly chiselled in the body of the
rock :” and afterwards (p. 549), relates that on the sides of the Hill of Offence, facing Mount Sion, he found a number of excavations in the rock, similar to those of Telmessus (described in the above passage), each chamber containing one or many repositories for the dead, like cisterns carved in the rock upon the sides of those chambers. “The sepulchres themselves are stationed in the midst of gardens.” “One particularly attracted our notice, from its extraordinary coincidence with all the circumstances attaching to the history of our Saviour's tomb: the large stone that once closed its mouth, had been, perhaps for ages, rolled away. Stooping down to look into it, we observed within, a fair sepulchre, containing a repository upon one side only, for a single body, whereas in most of the others there were two, and in many of them more than two.” (p. 555). The tomb which Bonifacius indicated as the likeness of the Holy Sepulchre, as
Before I quit the subject of Rock-tombs, I must describe another, which still remains in the neighbourhood of the Holy Sepulchre, and which affords important collateral evidence for its genuineness. This rock-tomb (or rather as much of it as remains), is now included within the Church (see Plan, Fig. 4, No. 6). At the extreme west end of the Rotunda, in the wall of the side-aisle, there is an apse, and from the south side of this apse a low door opens to a small apartment, so low that there is scarcely room to stand upright, and which may perhaps hold three men at once; the eastern side of it is the wall of the Rotunda", but the other sides are hewn out of the natural rock, and in this rock sepulchral cavities are excavated horizontally in the sides. On the floor also are the openings of graves sunk downwards in the earth. These tombs have been attributed to Nicodemus and to Joseph of Arimathaea. Some later writers suggest them to have belonged to the time of the Crusaders. But Schultz, from whose “Jerusalem " I have transcribed the description of this cavern, sagaciously remarks, that although the graves on the floor may probably be due to the Crusaders, the sepulchres in the face of the rock are so precisely like those which are to be seen throughout the Necropolis in the environs of Jerusalem, that there can be no doubt that they are the remains of a rock-tomb, formed long before the Church was built, and probably belonged to an old Jewish sepulchre of an age prior to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
he had seen it during the repair, was cave itself. amongst this very group, and perhaps * A view of this tomb is given by the identical one that Clarke selected | Lord Nugent, Lands Classical and from observation alone, as the sacred Sacred, Vol. 11. p. 34.
The rocky sides of this chamber are not exactly in the direction of the cardinal points, and it appears to be a portion of a rock-chamber, of which the Eastern parts have been cut away, and intruded upon by the process of hewing away the face of the rocky cliff in the brow of which it was originally excavated. For, as the section of the Church shews (Plate 3), the rock rises high against the external wall at the West, and the present level of the floor has been obtained by sinking into the rock. Thus an important corroboration is afforded of the history of the present disposition of the Holy Sepulchre. For instead of supposing the cavern to have been originally formed in a little hillock of rock, as some imagine, the very nature of the ground at present shews that the rock, which now rises behind the Western wall of the Church, was once extended so much farther Eastward as to bring the natural brow of its cliff to the front of the Holy Sepulchre, which was thus naturally formed in the face of this cliff in the usual manner. The Sepulchre just described under the name of Joseph of Arimathasa, was possibly part of a catacomb with many apartments and vestibules like that of the Judges, and at all events its entrance was formed in the face of the cliff, South-west of the entrance of the Holy Sepulchre”.
* I have already stated, that throughout this dissertation I have applied the term Holy Sepulchre to that which is exhibited under this name in the church, without intending to assume its identity with the Sepulchre of the Gospel narrative, which must principally be determined by topographical considerations. To shew that the arrangements of this Sepulchre are not
inconsistent with Sacred history, may afford some slight arguments in its favour, but it could hardly be supposed that those who first asserted this cave to be the genuine one, would have selected one which was at variance with the gospel account. From the sacred narrative, however, we gather that the true Sepulchre was an apartment hewn out of the rock, and not a mere grave in the rock ;
But as this question of the original form of the ground can hardly be made intelligible until the whole Church, and especially Mount Calvary, has been described, I will reserve its fuller explanation for a separate section, and will now proceed to describe the group of buildings that surround the Sepulchre.
for the disciples are described as “entering into it,” in a manner that shews the entrance to have been perfectly easy, when they were not hindered from going in by feelings of awe and reverence. But those who were so hindered were compelled to stoop, (John xx. 5, ll) in order to look in, whence we may either infer that the door was low, or that the stooping posture was necessary to allow the light to enter; but not that the cave was at a lower level than the entrance, for then the disciples would have been said to have “gone down into” the Sepulchre, instead of simply “entering it,” which is the phrase always used. The vision of angels “sitting, the one at the head and the other at the feet where the body of Jesus had lain,” (John xx. 12) is sufficient to shew that the Sepulchre was of that form in which the body was laid parallel to the side of the apartment. Also it was, more probably, deposited upon a stone couch, than in a hollow soros, or sarcophagus. For as the linen clothes appear to have been folded and laid in the place where the body had been, they could hardly have been seen by the disciple, who merely stooped down and looked in at the door, (John xx. 5) if they had been placed at the bottom of a stone chest, but would easily have been seen, if lying upon a stone couch. The vision of angels sitting may be thought to contradict the arched recess above the stone couch ; at all events this recess could not have been very low, but in many of these rock tombs it is sufficiently high to allow space for
persons to sit, as for example, in the arches represented in the Tombs of the Judges. Plate 4. There is no allusion in the scripture to a vestibule or outer cave, but on the other hand there is nothing to contradict its existence, and the common arrangement of the Jewish sepulchres makes it probable that there was one. The cave in the Sakhrah under the dome of the Mosk of Omar, which Mr Fergusson supposes to have been the true Sepulchre, has no resemblance to any sepulchral chamber, either in Jerusalem or elsewhere. It is in form an irregular trapezium, the average height seven feet and superficial area about 600 feet. In the centre of the rocky pavement is a circular slab of marble which when struck returns a hollow sound, clearly indicating a well or excavation beneath, (Bartlett's Walks, p. 154) and there is a corresponding opening in its rocky roof. It is wholly below the surface, and the access to it by a flight of steps; there is no provision for the reception of a body either in the form of recess, or stone couch, or any other of the wonted indications of sepulchral purpose which characterise such chambers. But, on the contrary, the aperture in the roof corresponding to the other in the floor shew a purpose which it would be difficult to connect with a sepulchre, but which I shall endeavour to explain in the Essay on the Temple. It does not seem to have occurred to Mr Fergusson that sepulchral caverns have characteristic arrangements and forms that mark their destination, and
I HAve in the preceding sections entered at great length into the history and description of the Chapel of
that therefore it is not enough to pro-
exaggerating the inside has contrived to