Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

#1246 Gordon’s Calvary & the Ketef Hinnom Amulets

General Charles Gordon

An interview with archaeologist Gordon Franz presented an opportunity that I just couldn’t resist, a discussion of the derivation of the name Gordon’s Calvary, which is another name for The Garden Tomb. It gets that name from General Charles Gordon (pictured), a 19th century British general, who visited Jerusalem in the 1880’s. You can read more about his career on wikipedia.

The Garden Tomb is frequently visited by tourists and pilgrims, it’s located just outside of the Damascus Gate. It used to be presented as the tomb where Jesus Christ was buried and where his resurrection took place. The British organization which operates The Garden Tomb has changed what they say about the tomb since some archaeological research done several decades ago indicates that the tomb in the garden dates back to around the 7th century B.C., and could not be a “new tomb” as described in the gospels (Matt. 27:60; John 19:41). The archaeologist who did that work was Gabriel Barkay, and one of the people who worked with him was our guest on this program, Gordon Franz.

Gordon and Gabi first worked together on the Shoulder of Hinnom excavation back in 1979. In the second half of today’s program, Gordon explains how he got involved in the project and how they ended up finding the oldest known scripture portion, the Aaronic blessing from Numbers 6:24-26, inscribed on rolled up scraps of silver found in a tomb. Gordon works with the Associates for Biblical Research and has an article on the ABR website which goes into a more detailed description of the discovery.

CBN news recently carried a report on the newly re-opened archaeological wing of the Israel Museum, which we also discussed, and where the amulet scrolls now reside. (The amulet scrolls are actually shown in the report.)

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