GOLGOTHA (literally, "the skull"):
Locality mentioned in the New Testament as the scene of Jesus' execution (Matt. xxvii. 33 and parallels). The name is an Aramaic emphatic state, and corresponds to the Hebrew . In the Greek transliteration of the Gospels the "l" is elided except in one manuscript (Codex Bezæ); "Golgotha" is the proper form. It was outside the city wall (John xix. 20), near a tomb, a gate, and a road, and in a prominent position (Mark xv. 29, 40; John xix. 20, 41). Two places answer to this description: (1) The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which is identified by tradition with Golgotha; it lay beyond the second wall and was near tombs and a road. A temple of Venus was erected on the site; and from the analogy of the temple of Zeus, which was built on the site of the Second Temple, this seems to imply that it was once a sacred spot. (2) A skull-shaped rock above the grotto of Jeremiah, about which there is a Jewish tradition that it was the place of stoning. The name does not occur in Talmudic literature. See also Adam.
- A. McGrigor, in Encyclopœdia Britannica, s.v. Sepulchre, Holy;
- Cheyne and Black, Encyc. Bibl. s.v.