Biblical Archaeology Review 21:4, July/August 1995

The Garden of Gethsemane: Not the Place of Jesus’ Arrest

By Joan E. Taylor

When visitors to Jerusalem are shown a large cave called “Gethsemane” on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives, they usually give a perfunctory look and hurry on to the famous Garden of Gethsemane, the small garden of olive trees adjacent to the Church of All Nations. Here pilgrims can sit and reflect on the momentous events of Jesus’ arrest in what seems a more appropriate, if less authentic, environment.

Most of these pilgrims are never told that the New Testament does not mention a “Garden of Gethsemane.” The Cave of Gethsemane, on the other hand, is very probably a genuine Biblical site—the location of Jesus’ arrest—unlike so many of the “traditional” holy sites of Christianity that have little or no claim to authenticity.

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