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extent of the ancient city, it would be much more reasonable, in considering so very uncertain and difficult a question as the topography of ancient Jerusalem, to take into account the fact, that less than three centuries after our Lord's Ascension, the place now called Calvary was said to have been without the second wall; because, the more improbable the supposition, the better reason must then have existed for marking this as the spot; since the fact of the place of crucifixion and sepulture being “without the gate” is not a modern discovery; it is plainly so written in Holy Scripture, and all the ancient writers bear witness to it, and declare with one voice that the site then and now revered was formerly without the city, but brought within its bounds by a later disposition of the walls. It must be considered in examining the question that the nature of the case does not admit of demonstrative proof; the most we can expect is a high degree of probability; and if we can divest our minds of an undue prejudice against traditionary evidence, we shall be ready to grant that there is a strong antecedent presumption on the side of a tradition which has antiquity and universality in its favour, and relates to a matter of such vast importance: and that it is fairly entitled to regard, and worthy of some degree of credit, until its veracity be clearly disproved. On subjects such as these it seems safer and more wise, and is certainly more pleasant, to endeavour to reconcile apparently conflicting testimonies, so as to believe as much as possible, rather than to set them in opposition one to another, as though they could by no possibility be brought to agreement. It is our duty to guard as far as possible against the opposite extremes of credulity and scepticism.
And I cannot but think that there is something very unreasonable in the excessive prejudice of Dr Robinson against ecclesiastical tradition, which led him as a principle “to avoid as far as possible all contact with the convents and the authority of the monks” during his I am satisfied that he would have done more justice to his subject, and have added much to the authority of his work in the eyes of most of his readers, if he had informed them of the opinion of the native Christians on the questions under dis
investigations in Palestine.
cussion. I will illustrate this by reference to a point of some little importance, though not immediately connected with the present subject. In 1842 (October 7th and 8th) I visited Beit Jebrín with a friend” deeply interested, like myself, in the investigation of the antiquities of Palestine. We read and studied Dr Robinson's proofs of the identity of this village with the site of Eleutheropolis". We were interested by his arguments, struck by his coincidences, carried away by the romance of his measurements, but not fully satisfied, not thoroughly convinced. Some time after, my friend, on his departure from Palestine, (January 10, 11, 1843) again visited this place, and again with the same result. He wrote me word, “I am not yet quite satisfied that Beit Jebrín is ancient Eleutheropolis. I hope you will find an opportunity at some future time to visit ‘Es-Safieh' or ‘Alba Specula',' and see whether that may not be Eleutheropolis.” Meanwhile I had discovered, from a very intelligent Greek priest in the convent at Jerusalem, that the continued tradition of his Church, written and unwritten, had delivered that Beit Jebrín does represent the Betogabra of Ptolemy and the Eleutheropolis of Ecclesiastical history, and that they had no doubt of the fact. This placed the matter beyond all question in our minds, and I will venture to say that there are few persons who would not consider Dr Robinson's arguments very much confirmed by this agreement; while there may be some with whom this simple testimony of the Greek Church would have more weight than all his ingenious and learned arguments together; considering that the city to which the tradition refers was formerly an Episcopal See and a place of great importance in Palestine”. But since, on the other hand, no tradition, however venerable, has force to counterbalance the evidence of the senses and of existing phenomena, or the authority of history, much less of Holy Scripture, we are bound to examine objections which appear to be weighty, and are by many supposed to be decisive, especially if they come recommended to us by learning and diligent research, and seem to have prevailed against the prepossessions of the objector*.
* Vol. 1. p. 377. We shall see that this is not always the case. “The native Arab population,” to whom “solely he applied for information,”
ceding year, by the very boatman who on my former visit had denied all knowledge of such a name ! He was a native Mohammedan.
are very apt to adopt, not merely the traditions of monks, but the suggestions of travellers, and to pass them off as authoritative. In 1843 I was pointed out on the sea of Tiberias, the site of Bethsaida. where a friend and myself had endeavoured to fix it in the pre
* The Reverend John Rowlands, Fellow of Queens’ College, Cambridge, to whom this Work is so much indebted.
* See Bib. Res. Vol. 11. pp. 355– 362, and 395–420, for a full description and for a discussion of the question.
* See Bib. Res.Vol. II. pp.363–367. the old Itineraries and descriptions,
* Witnessed not only by the cha- e.g. Antoninus, Eusebius, and St racter of the ruins still to be seen, (pp. Jerome. 355, 6), but by history and by the fact * This Dr Robinson states to have of its being assumed as a terminus in been the case with him, (Bib. Res.
It will be unnecessary to notice the arguments of Dr Clarke against the authority of the Holy Sepulchre", not only because it is evident that his indignation against what he calls “the farrago of absurdities,” and his contempt for “the credulity for which no degree of preposterousness seemed too mighty,” put it out of his power to consider the question calmly and dispassionately, and indisposed him for the investigation during his short visit to Jerusalem", but because Dr Robinson may now be considered the champion of the opinion which that great traveller first published in England, and he has brought much learning and much research to the question, and done ample justice to the cause
which he advocates".
But in order to prepare the way for the topographical investigations on which I am now to enter, it will be well to take such a survey of the general position of modern Jerusalem, as also of its more prominent features, as may serve to familiarise the reader with the ground which we shall have to traverse; and furnish such a vocabulary as may prevent the necessity of circumlocution in any future reference to the Quarters or Streets of the City'. That “the hills stand about Jerusalem,” is a fact familiar to all; and the Mount “which is before Jerusalem, on the East,” is likewise associated with our earliest and most sacred recollections. My description shall therefore commence from these known and familiar points. The Eastern wall of the City, facing Mount Olivet, is the most direct of the four sides. Its length is 2790 feet, of which more than half (1525 feet) on the South is occupied by the Haram, or area of the Great Mosk. This wall overhangs the steep brow of the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which continues its upward course to the North, some distance beyond the N. E. angle of the city, expanding gradually as it rises; then turning sharply to the West it runs up to the Tombs of the Kings. Below the S. E. angle of the wall, this valley inclines
Vol. 11. pp. 69, 80; Biblioth. Sac.
the 4th century “ignorant priests,”
should fall into the monstrous ab-
3. Mejr-ed-din's account, (A.D. 1495,) from the Mines d'Orient, Tome 11. p. 125, &c. Vienne, 1811. The measures are taken chiefly from 4. Dr Robinson's Biblical Researches, checked and corrected by the Trigonometrical Survey, (No. 1, sup.) and from
* The authorities for the following description are, 1. Majors Aldrich and Symonds' beautiful Plan, 1841; 2. the old Norman French description of the City, at the time of its capture by Saladin, first edited by Beugnot in the Assises de Jérusalem, Tome 11.
p. 531, &c.: then given by Schultz in the Zusitze to his Jerusalem, Berlin, 1845, p. 107, &c., which will be found in full in the Appendix: as will also
5. the careful measurements (so far as they go) of Mr Tipping, the results of which are given in the notes to Traill's Josephus, London, 1847.