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new and ingenious argument, lately advanced, could be established — tending to prove that Constantine could by no possibility have mistaken the spot, nor have been deceived by Macarius—I may be permitted here to notice Mr Finlay's hypothesis”, which would indeed meet all topographical difficulties, and so have saved me this discussion.
His argument is this”. The statistical information collected and preserved in the archives under the Roman Empire was so minute and perfect, that “every private estate was surveyed. Maps were constructed indicating not only every locality possessing a name, but so detailed that every field was measured. And in the register connected with the map, even the number of the fruit-trees in the gardens, the olivetrees in the groves, and the vines in the vineyards, was set down.” The provinces, colonies, and municipalities were surveyed with the same accuracy. Plans, engraven on brass, were deposited in the imperial Register Office, and copies on linen were placed in the hands of the local administrators, and in the provincial archives. St Luke is witness that the census was applied to Judea by Augustus, who is known to have paid particular attention to these surveys, which were further improved by his successors, and repeated at intervals of fifteen years.
Constantine would therefore find in the Imperial archives all the materials necessary for determining with exactitude the site of any public building in Jerusalem; and the examination of comparative maps and registers would enable him to discover the garden of Joseph and the Sepulchre, to trace the property through the hands of successive holders, and to identify its position with the Temple of Venus, which must have been inserted in the registers. Eusebius makes no mention of tradition, because he knew that documentary evidence alone could determine this question; and he makes no mention of the documentary evidence, because its consultation was the natural and ordinary course to pursue. Such is the argument. Now I will not fall into the error of Mr Finlay, who depreciates all other evidence, historical, traditionary, and topographical, in order to make way for his own demonstration; for I should really be too happy to dispense with the necessity for other proof, if I could be satisfied with that which he offers; or if I thought that objections would be silenced by his argument. But I am quite sure that I only anticipate the exceptions of others, when I state against this hypothesis those which occur to myself. If it were even certain that this minute survey of property was extended beyond the limits of Italy, and was actually applied to Jerusalem and its environs by Augustus and his successors, we should still require proof that the documents survived until the time of Constantine, before we could allow the force of demonstration to the argument above stated. That the occumenical census, mentioned by St Luke, had reference to persons, not to property, is evident from the journey of St Joseph and the Blessed Virgin to Bethlehem, the city of his family, whereas such property as they possessed would have been at Nazareth, their
* On the Site of the Holy Sepulchre, 35–43 of the pamphlet referred to, with by George Finlay, K.R.G. London, references to the authorities, which I 1847. need not repeat. * The argument is contained in pp.
Vol. II. 5
ordinary place of residence". A property-tax was however levied in the country, for the first time”, a few years later, under the presidency of Quirinius, in the tenth year of Archelaus; and then, if ever, the survey of Jerusalem and its suburbs was taken. But whatever may have been the training of the Corps of Civil Engineers under the Roman Empire, I cannot believe that their maps and plans would exhibit anything like the precision and accuracy of one of our Ordnance Surveys, or that they would comprehend the suburban villas and gardens of the Jewish aristocracy: nor do the Peutinger tables, and other specimens of Roman engineering, warrant the belief of such minute fidelity. Again, the disturbances occasioned in Palestine by the taxing of Quirinius would probably deter the government from a repetition of so very unpopular a measure among a people so inflammable; and the fact of “the taxing ” being mentioned by Gamaliel as an era, after an interval of twenty years”, indicates that from this cause, or some other, it had actually not been repeated. But the taxing of Quirinius took place at least twenty years before the time when we find Joseph of Arimathea in possession of the garden", and we must not take it for granted that he had then held it so many years, nor that he retained possession until another survey was made. It is therefore far from certain that his name ever actually appeared in the plans and registers. But let us grant this, and concede all that Mr Finlay asks; —that linen copies of those surveys were deposited at Jerusalem and Caesarea, besides the original on brasen tables at Rome. One copy was unquestionably burnt in the sedition that preceded the siege of Titus, or in the sack of the City by the Romans, for these conflagrations are expressly said to have consumed the repository of the archives'; as for the other copy, it is very unlikely that the Jews would spare the state-records in the capital of the province, (when it was in their hands in the revolt under Hadrian,) being, as they were, so many monuments of their hated servitude; and the original tables, if laid up either in the Temple of Concord, or in the Imperial palace at Rome, probably perished by fire in the twelfth year of Commodus”. On the whole then, while admitting the bare possibility of Mr Finlay's hypothesis as an additional argument in favour of the received site, and rejoicing if he or others, not satisfied with the historical evidence, are led to a right conclusion by another line of reasoning, I am glad for myself to have the traditionary argument to fall back upon, and to be able to prove that topographical facts make nothing against it. I cannot think that the necessity of my defence is superseded by Mr Finlay's discovery, and I shall therefore proceed to examine the site of the Holy Sepulchre, having, as I trust, proved in this Chapter that the site itself was without the range of the Old City.
* Luke ii. 1–5. See Greswell's * Acts v. 37. Compare Josephus Dissertations on the Harmony, Vol. 1. 1. c. p. 341, 2. Second Edition. “ i.e. in the 10th year of Archelaus,
* Josephus Ant. xviii. i. 1; Gres- || A.D. 14. well, l.c. p. 543, 4.
* Bell. Jud. 11. xvi. 1. and v1. vii. Romani in anno, cited above in Vol. 1. 2. See Vol. 1. pp. 163 and 185. p. 190. * A. D. 191. See Clinton's Fasti
If the attempt that has now been made to determine the position of Acra and the course of the Second Wall has been successful, we are justified in the conclusion, that the tradition relating to the Holy Sepulchre, so far from being invalidated by the consideration of its locality, is much confirmed; since the probability is great that a fictitious site would have been fixed far enough away from the ruins of the ancient city, to obviate those apparently strong objections which only a diligent examination of the Jewish historian proves to be insufficient: for the ruins in the time of Constantine would plainly mark the extent of the old city”, and prevent
* Eusebius, writing about A.D. 320, are obvious to their sight who travel *ys: “To this very time indeed the thither.” Theophania, p. 242. See *mnants of the conflagration which further testimonies in Vol. 1. p. 243, * Place in various parts of the city note 3.