EASTER PILGRIMS TAKE WRONG ROAD
Author’s note: So that we have the facts correct. This article is taken from a piece by Dalya Alberge published by the UK publication the Daily Mail. The actual article can be found here – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1168891/Pilgrims-tracing-steps-Jesus-going-WRONG-way-2-000-years-says-historian.html
For the best part of 2,000 years, pilgrims have flocked to Jerusalem to retrace Jesus’s final steps. The Via Dolorosa, or ‘Way of Suffering’, took them from the Praetorium, where He was condemned to death by Pontius Pilate, to the site of the Crucifixion – or so they thought. Now, it seems they may have been walking in the wrong direction. A respected archaeologist claims that pilgrims have been starting from the wrong end of Jerusalem and that the locations of two of the holiest sites on the route are ‘completely wrong’. Shimon Gibson, a Holy Land specialist, said the traditional start of the Via Dolorosa, north of the Old City, should be at the other end of the city. Since medieval times, Christians have assumed that the Praetorium, the starting point of the route and the Roman headquarters mentioned in the Gospels as the scene of Jesus’s trial, was the Antonia Fortress which stood in the north of Jerusalem. But Professor Gibson said there was ‘no historical basis whatsoever’ for this being the site where Jesus was tried and condemned to death by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. Little of the fortress’s structure has survived but, having surveyed the remains of its rock-cut base in intricate detail, he concludes that it could not have been more than a military observation tower. He said archaeological excavations pointed to the site of the trial being 900 metres away at the remains of a large paved courtyard south-west of Jerusalem, south of the Jaffa Gate. It was situated between two fortification walls with an outer gate and an inner one leading to barracks where it is most likely that Jesus was held. The open courtyard contained a platform of around two square metres – details that ‘correspond perfectly’ with the Gospel of John’s account of Pontius Pilate sitting on a judgment-seat at an elevated place. Professor Gibson, who is based at universities in Israel and America, said: ‘The astonishing thing is that thousands of Christian travellers and pilgrims pass by this site without realising its significance.’ Those who visit the Rock of Calvary ( or Golgotha) within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to pray at the traditional rock of the crucifixion are also at the wrong location, he believes. The professor’s research, which will be published shortly in The Final Days of Jesus, shows that the site is too narrow to have accommodated one cross, let alone those of the two thieves crucified with Jesus. Professor Gibson believes the Crucifixion was some 20 metres from the traditionally accepted site, under an apse of the remains of the Church of the Martyrium. ‘Pilgrims walk across this area… without realising its significance,’ he said. Dr Mark Merrony, a specialist in archaeology of the Holy Land and editor of Minerva, the archaeological journal, said Professor Gibson’s research matched details in the Gospel of John and other ancient writings. He added: ‘This discovery provides a crucial insight into the final movements of Jesus and implies that the traditional Way of the Cross should be redefined. It seems likely that millions of pilgrims have been following an incorrect path of veneration.’ But the Reverend Canon Bill Broughton of St George’s, the Anglican cathedral in Jerusalem, said Professor Gibson’s ‘great work will embellish the [Christian] story and make it even more meaningful’ but would not lead to the route being redrawn. He said: ‘It’s the Way of the Cross that we walk in terms of our faith and theology, not the archaeological evidence. ‘Pilgrims of faith want the general pattern. It may not be exactly the same footsteps but, in reality, the place is sanctified by the presence of those who’ve been there and said their prayers.’ The Right Rev Tom Wright, the Bishop of Durham, said: ‘ Archaeology is always open to questions from further research. The Church has nothing to worry about on that score. I always welcome fresh investigations.’
CELLPHONE MEETS HAMMER – RESULTS ARE SMASHING
One of my sources of extreme irritation in this technologically laden world is cellphones. It appears I am not alone. In Cheyenne, Wyoming, 13 year-old Dena Christoffersen found that out the hard way. She sent or received about 20,000 text messages over about a month, and her parents’ phone plan didn’t cover texting. Oops, guess that can’t be good. Her father, Gregg Christoffersen, introduced her phone to a hammer after getting a phone bill for more than $4,750. Ouch, I’m betting that wasn’t in the budget. Verison has said they will work with them to reduce the bill. Dena has been grounded until the end of the school year. I suspect even after her grounding is over, a new cellphone is not in her future any time soon. Maybe they should have gotten her a Playstation instead.
ASSAULT OVER FARTS
In Waco, Texas, I’ve always believed that town should be spelled Wacko, five men are having lunch in a motel room. One starts passing horrendous gas. I guess he’d never heard of Beano. What do you do? Move? Get some fresh air? Throw up your dinner? Well, Jose Braule Ramirez came up with a novel idea. He grabbed a knife and and threw it at him and stabbed the guy in the leg and then once in the chest for good measure. No knows what he hoped to accomplish by this but it seems he felt jail would smell better which is where he is currently having all his meals.
TOWN ELECTS DEAD MAYOR TO FOURTH TERM
I’m always fascinated when things like this occur. Apparently, Winfield, Missouri re-elected their mayor about a month after he died of a heart attack. He was still a candidate because it was too late to print new ballots. I don’t know why the couldn’t have just drawn a line through his name. Intead he won overwhelmingly, which doesn’t say much for the other candidate, by a margin of 206 votes to 23. Harry Stonebraker died of a heart attack back in March, but still remains Mayor. At least they won’t have to listen to any long acceptance speeches. The only other person that I can think of that has experienced something like this is John Ashcroft when he lost his election to Mel Carnahan who had died in a plane crash. How do you explain something like that, “I lost to a dead man.” It’s got to hurt your ego. “I’m such a pathetic politician they liked the corpse better than me. ” The aldermen said they would appoint someone to serve in the mayor’s position. It was obvious no one wanted the live guy.
FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT HAVEN’T SEEN THIS, IF IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU SMILE, NOTHING WILL.