Jail of Herod’s palace found

At American Thinker I saw an interesting piece that touches on archeology and the truth of biblical accounts of the Lord’s Passion.

Archeologists say they may have uncovered site where Jesus stood trial

Archeologists excavating an old jail in Jerusalem uncovered what appears to be the remains of Herod’s palace – the place many biblical scholars identify as the location of the trial of Jesus by Pontius Pilate. The extraordinary find is located next to the Tower of David museum and is sure to be a popular attraction when it opens to the public.


Let me be clear about something. While I have no doubt about the veracity of the biblical accounts, and not the slightest doubt about the truth of the historicity of what we read in Scripture, for me the “historical Jesus” is only of mild interest. The Jesus I am truly interested in is the Lord and Savior, Good Shepherd and Just Judge who rose, ascended and will come again “from the East” to judge the quick and the dead.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Funny how that term, “the historical Jesus”, has changed in meaning over the last several decades.

  2. anilwang says:

    Dr. Edward Peters says: Funny how that term, “the historical Jesus”, has changed in meaning

    Too true. It used to mean that although the Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Zeno of Citium, Epicurus, Abraham (in Judaism), and Muhammad were real persons it did not really matter if the stories about them were true or that they even existed. Yes this even applies to Abraham (in Judaism) and Muhammad since the message and heritage are what’s important not the person or the history. This also applies to all pagan stories where one or more “gods” rule the world, such as Greek or Norse Mythology. The “gods” might not even exist, but what’s important to these religions is that the stories embody natural truths about the world.

    This is not the case with Jesus who is both the message (the Word) and the Truth. Jesus is a real person in real history who is actually God and was crucified, died, resurrected, and ascended into heaven. If even one of those facts is false, the whole religion is a sham and there is no reason to be a Christian, much less a Catholic.

    We need to reclaim the term “historical Jesus” from the modernists.

  3. LarryW2LJ says:

    Agreed. But I am geeky enough to find stuff like this “cool”. I’ve never been to the Holy Land, and this stage of my life, doubt I will ever get there. To be near a place where Jesus actually stood during His earthly life – wow, just wow.

  4. The Masked Chicken says:

    It is a pity that DNA degrades over time. We might have been able to find some remnant of the Previous Blood.

    The Chicken

  5. Indulgentiam says:

    Very interesting and will hopefully provoke much cogitation and conversation especially among nonbelievers. But GOD is in the here and now. In every Tabernacle of HIS House. I can kneel there and look at HIM all I want…for now. The time is fast approaching when that will not be so…HE said so. Thank you for this news Father :)

  6. gracie says:

    I dig this stuff :-)

  7. DeGaulle says:

    It’s no surprise that this evidence should show up as seems to be increasingly a pattern-there’s no getting away from the Truth. Wasn’t Our Lord mentioned in Tacitus and Josephus? Empirical evidence mightn’t amount to much, but it was what St. Thomas demanded and Our Lord, while mildly rebuking him for it, certainly didn’t condemn him.

  8. yatzer says:

    I hear continuously the idea that Jesus probably didn’t exist; or if he did, he did not say much of anything attributed to him in the scriptures. So, this sort of discovery is encouraging.

  9. I am completely with you on this one, Fr Z.

    I have no real desire to go to the ‘Holy Land’, because what’s there is not the land of Jesus anyway; the landscape has changed and all the dust has blown away and Jerusalem’s been rebuilt that many times.

    Jesus lives just down the street from me in a local church, and I can go and see Him any time I want.

  10. jflare says:

    I think we may underestimate the value of these sorts of discoveries at times.

    I notice that when there’s a question of whether faith should influence public life, there’ll sometimes be a question of whether Christian faith truly means anything; there’ll be a charge that we believe in a bunch of fairy tales and myths and whatnot. Given many conversations I have been in over the last 20 years, I think any number of people consider that we believe in just that, a bunch of fairy tales.
    We do not often enough consider the merits of the various shrines dedicated to Mary or to Christ in these cases, but they provide a basic means of defending Catholic claims. If we can point to a particular event in the bible, then point to an actual, physical location that could be visited in today’s life, it does tend to substantiate our ideals. It’s quite true that we can meet Our Savior in the tabernacle at the average parish; it’s also true that most skeptics of Catholic claims are not ready–intellectually or spiritually–to meet Christ this way. If we can emphasize the human existence of Christ, if we can point to various places that’re obviously intended for a human being to have been, we can provide someone with at least a basic cause for knowing that our beliefs are not mere hogwash and fluff.

    I readily grant there’s a risk in this: Emphasizing the idea that Christ did X here, Y there, or suffered Z there, as a human being, can cause someone to be convinced that some guy named Jesus may have walked there 2,000 years ago, but such only proves His humanity, not His divinity. Then too, as noted, given the degree of doubt involved with many of these sites, a skeptic can over-emphasize that we can’t prove that Christ, Our Saviour, definitely walked in place A or did miracle B there. In particular, because the people involved in one biblical event or another didn’t realize the eternal significance of their actions at the time, we can’t pull out a certain map with an X marking the spot, so a skeptic can dismiss even physical locations as after-the-fact inventions of a skilled storyteller.

    Even so, I think it rather a mistake to be too dismissive of these finds, precisely because the Holy Spirit may still use these discoveries to be the final chink in the doubter’s armor that can cause someone to finally believe it might actually be true.

    Let’s remember that we sometimes use relics of people for similar reasons.

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