DISCUSSION

Mount Ephraim and Benjamin

57. Gethsemane - (Gethsemani)


Garden located E of the Kidron Valley from Jerusalem (John 18:1), on the slopes of the Mount of Olives (Matt 26:30; Luke 22:39). Jesus often went to Gethsemane in order to rest, pray, and find fellowship with his disciples (Luke 21:37, 22:39; John 18:2). After celebrating the Passover with his disciples for the last time, Jesus went to pray in Gethsemane, where he was later betrayed by Judas Iscariot (Matt 26:36-56; Mark 14:32-52; Luke 22:39-53; John 18:1-12).
The name Gethsemane derives from Hebrew and Aramaic words for "oil press." Presumably Gethsemane consisted of an olive orchard and an oil press to squeeze oil from the olives, both of which were common on the Mount of Olives. Matthew and Mark depict Gethsemane as a parcel of land (chorion) on the Mount of Olives (Matt 26:30; Mark 14:32). Luke does not mention Gethsemane, implying that the events of Matthew and Mark occurred at a place (topos) on the mount itself (Luke 22:39). Only John describes it as a garden or enclosure (kepos), though he does not refer to Gethsemane by name (John 18:1). It may have been a walled garden since John describes Jesus and the disciples as having entered it. From John's account we derive the traditional name of the "garden of Gethsemane." The garden must have been fairly large because Jesus led Peter, James, and John away from the rest of the disciples (Matt 26:36-38; Mark 14:32-34), and later Jesus withdrew further in order to pray alone (Matt 26:39; Mark 14:35).
In Gethsemane, Jesus warned his disciples several times to watch and pray against entering into temptation (Matt 26:41; Mark 14:38; Luke 22:40, 46). Jesus understood his own agonizing time of prayer as a time of temptation from completing the sacrificial will of God (Matt 26:42; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:40, 46). He prayed three times for deliverance (Mark 14:32-42). Some ancient manuscripts of Luke include the physical account of how Jesus' sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground (Luke 22:44). Jesus won the spiritual battle and faithfully met his betrayer in the garden (John 18:1-11). Some now consider the garden of Gethsemane sacred because it represents the location of Jesus' obedience to God and self-sacrificial love. Reminiscent of Gethsemane, Heb 5:7-8 reflects upon the prayers and supplications Jesus made with loud cries and tears. As a result of his godly fear and obedience, Jesus was made perfect and became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.
Today four rival locations claim to be the authentic site of Gethsemane, though none can trace their authenticity prior to the 4th century. Although scholars doubt the accuracy of traditions which try to locate Gethsemane, all admit that the real site cannot be far from one of the traditional ones. In general, Gethsemane was located on the hillside of the Mount of Olives above the road between Jerusalem and Bethany. The traditional Latin (Roman Catholic) site lies nearest the roadway and contains olive trees hundreds of years old, carefully preserved by Franciscans.

Donald A. D. Thorsen, The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ad v. "Gethsemani" (extract)

Herbert Donner (The Mosaic Map of Madaba, Kampen 1992, 53)
It is the place beyond the Kidron Valley where Jesus prayed and was betrayed by Judas Iscariot. The little church on the left is first mentioned by St. Jerome and by the nun Etheria (ecclesia elegans 'the beautiful church').

Noël Duval ("Essai sur la signification des vignettes topographiques", in The Madaba Map Centenary, Jerusalem 1999, 144)
Gêths[emanê]. A la petite église en perspective semble ajoutée une paroi à gauche : on a voulu, sans doute, montrer trois côtés. (See also the complete article)

Map Section 5 Place Sources

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Created Tuesday, December 19, 2000 at 23:39:43
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copyright - Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem 2000