I sincerely thank Professor James Tabor of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Dr. Rainer Riesner of the University of Tübingen and Professor James Strange of the University of South Florida for their great help in preparing this article.


See Bargil Pixner, “Church of the Apostles Found on Mount Zion,” BAR 16:03; Hershel Shanks, “The Tombs of David and Other Kings of Judah,” Jerusalem: An Archaeological Biography (New York: Random House, 1995), pp. 35–43.


Since the mason’s mark is in Latin and not in Greek or Hebrew, as one might expect in Jerusalem, and since we know Herod often used Roman engineers, one might cautiously suggest that the “H” stands for Herod, who probably commissioned the construction.


I present an overview of the evidence in “Church of the Apostles Found on Mount Zion,” BAR 16:03.


The pilgrim erroneously locates David’s palace on Mount Zion, although it actually stood on Jerusalem’s eastern ridge. His confusion likely stems from the fact that the name “Zion” originally referred to the eastern ridge, which is now called the City of David.



Bargil Pixner, An Essene Quarter on Mount Zion? (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 1976; abstract from Studia Hierosolymitana I: Studi archeologici in onore di P. Bellarmino Bagatti [Jerusalem, 1976], pp. 245–286).


Josephus, Jewish War 5.145.


Frederick J. Bliss, “Second Report on the Excavations at Jerusalem,” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 26 (1894), pp. 252–255; “Third Report on the Excavations at Jerusalem,” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 27 (1895), pp. 9–25 (esp. p. 9).


Bliss and Archibald C. Dickie, Excavations at Jerusalem, 1894–1897 (London: Palestine Exploration Fund, 1898), pp. 16–20, 322–324.


Shortly after Bliss’s excavation ended in 1897, just a century ago, the property of which the excavation was a part was purchased by the Anglican-Lutheran Church Union, thus enlarging the old cemetery where the first bishops of the Union—Michael Alexander (died 1845) and Samuel Gobat, for whom the school on Mount Zion was named (died 1878)—had been buried.


For a discussion of the main proposals, see the study of Rainer Riesner, “Josephus’ Gate of the Essenes in Modern Discussion,” Zeitschrift des deutschen Palästina-Vereins 105 (1989), pp. 105–109.


Pixner, Doron Chen and Shlomo Margalit, “Mount Zion: The Gate of the Essenes Reexcavated,” Zeitschrift des deutschen Palästina-Vereins 105 (1989), pp. 85–95 and plates 6–16, and “Mount Zion: Discovery of Iron Age Fortifications Below the Gate of the Essenes,” in Ancient Jerusalem Revealed, ed. Hillel Geva (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1994), pp. 76–81; Pixner, “The History of the Essene Gate Area,” Zeitschrift des deutschen Palästina-Vereins 105 (1989), pp. 96–104.


Geva, “Excavations at the Citadel of Jerusalem, 1976–1980,” in Geva, Ancient Jerusalem Revealed, pp. 156–167; Nachman Avigad, Discovering Jerusalem (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983).


There may have been an earlier gate a few hundred meters to the east, since there is a large accumulation of debris there, perhaps corresponding to Jeremiah’s Gate of Sherds, or the Gate of the Potter (Jeremiah 19:2), and the Dung Gate (Nehemiah 3:13).


Pilgrim of Bordeaux, “Itinerary,” in Donato Baldi, Enchiridion Locorum Sanctorum, 3rd ed. (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 1982), no. 16, p. 474; John Wilkinson, Egeria’s Travels (London: SPCK, 1971), p. 157.


Pilgrim of Piacenza, “Itinerary,” in Baldi, Enchiridion Locorum Sanctorum, no. 25, p. 469.


1QM 3.10–11; see also 1QM 7.3–4.


Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 13.311.


Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 15.373.


Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 18.20.


Philo, Quod omnis homo probus liber sit 75.


Philo, Apologia pro Judaeis 1.


Josephus, The Jewish War 5.145.


See 11QMiqdash 46.13–16, trans. in The Temple Scroll, ed. Yigael Yadin, 3 vols. (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society/Ben Zvi, 1983), vol. 1, p. 294.


Josephus, Jewish War 2.149.


Claude R. Conder, “The Rock Scarp of Zion,” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 7 (1875), pp. 81–89 (esp. pp. 85–86).


4QMMT, line 60.


4QMMT, line 15; see also 11 QT 50.4, 15; 51.5.


See 1QS 5.13ff; CD 10.10–13.


A preliminary survey and radar ground-scan work have recently been carried out in the Greek Garden on Mount Zion by Professor James Strange of the University of South Florida, supported by the Foundation for Biblical Archaeology of Goldsboro, North Carolina; CenturyOne of Pasadena, California; and the Kuhn Foundation of Irvine, California.

Perhaps future exploratory efforts will reveal the material level of habitation in this important area of the city at various periods.