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Keys to JerusalemCollected Essays$
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Jerome Murphy-O'Connor

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199642021

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199642021.001.0001

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The Tomb of James

The Tomb of James

(p.135) 8 The Tomb of James
Keys to Jerusalem

Jerome Murphy‐O'Connor

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the dispute as to whether the tomb of James was on the western or easterm slope of the Kidron Valley. What Jerome actually said was, ‘Some monks think that James was buried on the Mount of Olives, but their opinion is false’. Jerome had been settled in Bethlehem since ad 386, and he certainly knew the account of the murder of James by the high priest Ananus in ad 62 given by the Jewish historian Josephus, who says only that James was stoned to death. Jerome also knew the report of Hegesippus, an early second-century Jewish Christian, who was probably a native of Palestine. His account is preserved by the church historian Eusebius of Caesarea. In it he claims that James was first thrown from the parapet of the temple. When that did not kill him, he was stoned. When that did not kill him, his head was stove in by a fuller's club. ‘He was buried on the spot, by the Temple and his grave-marker is still there by the Temple’. Jerome completes this brief note: ‘He is buried near the Temple from which he was thrown down. The grave-marker was well known up to the siege of Titus and even that of Hadrian’. The fact that Jerome did not say that he himself had seen the grave-marker suggests that it had been buried by the debris that cascaded down the slope when Hadrian in ad 135 razed Jerusalem in order to create Aelia Capitolina.

Keywords:   James, Jerome, tomb, Eusebius of Caesarea, siege of Titus

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