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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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GETHSEMANE (Γεθσημανεί, perhaps for נִח שְמָני[ם] ‘oil press’).—Gethsemane is usually described as a ‘place’ with a garden attached to it; but, so far as the words of Scripture show, it may have been simply a garden. St. Matthew (Matthew 26:36) and St. Mark (Mark 14:32) use the word χωρίον, St. Luke (Luke 22:40) uses τόπος, and St. John (John 18:1), describing it as ὅπου ἧν κῆπος, refers to it again (John 18:2) as τόπος. It lay east of Jerusalem, across the Kidron (John 18:1), at the foot of or upon the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:20, Mark 14:26, Luke 22:39 : cf. Euseb. 2 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] 248. 18, and Jerome, ib. 130. 22). The traditional site is in the Kidron ravine, at a point about equidistant, as the crow flies, from the Golden Gate and St. Stephen’s Gate. It is easily reached by the road passing through the latter and crossing the Kidron bridge, just beyond which it lies, a square plot of ground with eight very ancient olive-trees. If the statement of Josephus (BJ vi. i. I), that Titus cut down all the trees upon that side of the city, be correct, the tradition that those trees are as old as the Christian era, or the tradition as to the site, must be abandoned. Both probably are unfounded, and, according to the general consensus of opinion, this site was fixed upon at the time of the Empress Helena’s visit to Jerusalem (a.d. 326).

The scene of Christ’s agonizing prayers immediately before the betrayal, and of His betrayal and capture (Matthew 26:36-57, Mark 14:32-53, Luke 22:39-54, John 18:1-13), it had long been a favourite resort with the Master and His disciples (Luke 21:37, John 18:2). See, further, art. Agony.

Literature.—Robinson, BRP [Note: RP Biblical Researches in Palestine.] 2 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] i. 234 f., 270; PEFSt [Note: EFSt Quarterly Statement of the same.] (1887) pp. 151, 159, (1889) p. 176; Conder, Bible Places, 204; Le Camus, Voyage aux Pays Bibliques, i. 252 ff.; art. ‘Gethsemane’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (by Conder) and in Encyc. Bibl. (by L. Gautier); art. ‘The House of Gethsemane’ in Expositor, iv. iii. [1891] 220–232 (by E. Petavel). On the form of the name see Dalman, Gram. 152.

John Muir.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Gethsemane'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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