The Jerusalem Post ran a story this week claiming that the Bible giant Goliath’s skull is located under the land occupied by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre because its biblical name, Golgotha, sort of sounds like “Goliath of Gath.” The Post did not clearly explain to readers that its article was a near-verbatim copy of a 2017 tabloid story from Britain’s Daily Star, itself recycling Evangelical chatter from the early 2000s, nor did the Post disclose that the “author” of their story, “Walla! Tourism,” had apparently produced the piece to draw Christian tourists to Israel.
Self-described Christian-Jewish “thinker” Ken Ammi explained the argument this way: “Goliath was from Gath so it may be that Golgotha is a compound word which combines Goliath and Gath.”
“Golgotha” has nothing to do with Goliath. It’s a Greek transliteration of the Aramaic gulgultā, from the Syriac Gāgūlṯā, all referencing skulls. However, Christian pastors have tried to tie Golgotha to Goliath as part of a “serpent seed” theology positing that Satan father a child with Eve, through which genetic sin, such as homosexuality, entered the human race. The Daily Star quoted Firestorm Ministries preacher Bonnie Nelson on serpent seed mythology: “For Nelson, Goliath represents the ‘seed of the serpent’ spoken of the Bible’s first book – so she says, ‘if Goliath’s head was buried there it fulfilled Genesis.’”
This effort to make Golgotha, the place of Jesus’ crucifixion, a locus of Nephilim or Satanic power is decidedly non-traditional. The early Church fathers glossed Golgotha as an execution site. In Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages it became the place of Adam’s burial, where Noah reinterred Adam’s skull after the Flood, thus tying Christ to Noah and Adam. Modern Evangelicals seems decidedly more interested in turning Christ into a culture warrior sticking it to those genetically programmed to sin than with the salvation narrative Christianity supposedly represents.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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