News coming out of the scientific world has just granted more validity to Christianity; information that will silence critics of the faith.
According to The Telegraph, new scientific testing was conducted on what is widely regarded as Jesus’ tomb. The results–just recently revealed–support traditional beliefs that have always been maintained about Christianity’s most sacred site.
The site, believed to be the tomb from which Jesus emerged, is located in what is now the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The tomb is encased in a shrine, called an edicule. Stewardship rights to the church are shared between Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Roman Catholic denominations, all of which have been in dispute for decades over how to renovate and preserve the sacred site.
During the renovation efforts in October of 2016, “the cave thought to be the tomb of Jesus was opened for the first time in centuries.”
This is the first time scientific testing has been conducted on the original materials at the site. Mortar uncovered during the restoration was tested after being buried for centuries. In March, the shrine was reopened after renovations were complete.
The testing revealed that the mortar dates back to the fourth century, supporting traditional beliefs about the site. While it does not confirm as a fact that Jesus was buried at the site, the findings are consistent with historical accounts that believe a Roman monument was erected on the site 300 years after Jesus’ death.
Atonia Moropoulou, a preservation specialist from the National Technical University of Athens, stated: “This is a very important finding because it confirms that it was, as historically evidenced, Constantine the Great responsible for cladding bedrock of the tomb of Christ with the marble slabs in the edicule.”
Moropoulou believes the mortar is consistent with historical periods, from the Byzantine era, the Crusades, the Renaissance, and even beyond. She also determined that much more of the cave is still enclosed in the shrine’s walls.
Historical tradition maintains that when Constantine the Great transitioned the Roman Empire to Christianity in fourth century AD — circa 326 — he ordered the monument to Jesus to be built upon the tomb in which Jesus was believed to be buried.
Constantine was the first emperor of Rome to convert to Christianity. He went on to heavily promote Christianity, including efforts to implement religious tolerance and end the persecutions against Christians.
Over the years, other monuments were built on top of the tomb. The site was repeatedly destroyed by fires, earthquakes, and violent attacks. The total destruction of the monument took place in 1009, and was the monument was completely rebuilt. It left experts wondering whether or not the site could be identified.
The tomb’s original limestone surface “burial bed,” along with a since-broken marble slab covering imprinted with a cross, have both been dated back to AD 345. Several samples underwent rigorous testing by Moropoulou and her university team, who oversaw the delicate renovation process. Multiple samples were tested by two separate labs, using “optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), a technique that determines when quartz sediment was most recently exposed to light.” The results will appear in a future issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.
New scientific examinations indicate the designated burial site of Jesus Christ corroborates to historical records. Has science proved the authenticity of Christianity’s most sacred site?
Archaeologist Marin Biddle, who authored a 1999 study of the tomb’s history, said “Obviously that date is spot-on for whatever Constantine did. That’s very remarkable.”
The tomb still holds unsolved mysteries. Over time, experts are hopeful that more evidence can be identified, and that it is just as solid as this discovery.