Raumvisionen, Erinnerungsorte und Topographien des Leidens Christi in Mittelalter und Früher Neuzeit
Edited By Hans Aurenhammer and Daniela Bohde
The Rock of Golgotha in Jerusalem and Western Imagination
Many events of the Gospel story, especially events of the Passion, were identified with natural stones and rocks found in Jerusalem: Christ’s Prayer of Agony was associated with a rock in Gethsemane, the Crucifixion with the Rock of Golgotha, and the Ascension with a stone on the Mount of Olives. In the course of the Middle Ages, as the story of the passion was thickened, additional events were associated with concrete stones in Jerusalem like the place where Christ fell on his way to Golgotha, or the place where he was anointed after the crucifixion. Such rocks and stones were later integrated into the Way of the Cross in Jerusalem (the Via Dolorosa).
In the following discussion I briefly introduce some of the inherent problems and challenges that a research of the stones of Jerusalem poses. I then focus on the Rock of Golgotha, the traditional site of the Crucifixion, which demonstrates some of these complexities. As I will show, the iconographical transformations to which the Rock of Golgotha was subjected over the centuries echo broader changes in Western medieval devotionalism, and their manifestations in Jerusalem.
The sacred stones of Jerusalem could be discussed in relation to different frames of reference: one might think of them as places which mark in situ the spots where biblical events were believed to have taken place: the rock in Gethsemane stands for the biblical place of Gethsemane where Christ prayed in Agony (Matthew 26:36, Mark 14:...
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