Palace Where Jesus Stood Trial Discovered by Archaeologists?

Palace Discovered in Jerusalem Reveals the Reliability of the New Testament

The palace of Herod Antipas (son of Herod I who succeeded him), may have been discovered in the old city of Jerusalem. This would have been the same palace where Jesus stood trial before Herod, over 2000 years ago!

According to Shimon Gibson, an archaeologist from UNC Charlotte, quoted in the Washington Post, “there is little doubt that the trial occurred somewhere within Herod’s palace compound. In the Gospel of John, the trial is described as taking place near a gate and on a bumpy stone pavement — details that fit with previous archaeological findings near the prison.”[1]

For years there has been some debate among archaeologists, historians and biblical scholars as to the exact location of Jesus’ trial before Herod Antipas in Luke 23:6-12.

The Washington Post article says, “Questions about the location stem from various interpretations of the Gospels, which describe how Jesus of Nazareth was brought before Pilate in the “praetorium,” a Latin term for a general’s tent within a Roman encampment. Some say Pilate’s praetorium would have been in the military barracks, others say the Roman general would probably have been a guest in the palace built by Herod.”

Harold Hoehner’s landmark work, Herod Antipas: A Contemporary of Jesus Christ (Cambridge, 1972), states that, “After Pilate’s hearing that Jesus was from Galilee, Luke switches the scene to Jesus being tried by Herod [Antipas]. He was no doubt escorted by some guards as well as by some of the Sanhedrin from Pilate’s residence to the Hasmonaean palace, which was Antipas’ Jerusalem residence located west of the temple.”[2]

“Today, historians and archaeologists are certain that Herod’s palace was on the city’s western side, where the Tower of David Museum and the Ottoman-era prison stand,” according to the article.

The Tower of David in Jerusalem   - believed to be the location where Jesus stood trial before Herod (Antipas)

The Tower of David in Jerusalem – believed to be the location where Jesus stood trial before Herod (Antipas)

Well over a decade ago, as archaeologists began to dig back through the various layers of history and empires, including the British, Ottoman, and eventually back to the Roman period – a rocky pavement was discovered which may be connected to Jesus’ trial before Antipas & Pilate (see, John 19:13 Gabbatha, Hebrew for“knoll”).

To those who question the historical accuracy and reliability of the New Testament, this latest discovery reveals the fact that the events surrounding life of Jesus Christ are grounded in reality.

Archaeology certainly can’t prove the Bible in a mathematical/deductive sense, but it can certainly affirm people, places, and events which can give us a very high degree of certainty that what the Bible records actually happened, beyond a reasonable doubt!

In the words of Yisca Harani, ““For those Christians who care about accuracy in regards to historical facts, this is very forceful.”[3]


[1] (accessed, Jan. 5, 2015).

[2] Harold Hoehner, Herod Antipas: A Contemporary of Jesus Christ (Cambridge University Press, 1972), p. 239.


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3 replies
  1. Greg says:

    So to you the specification that the trial occurred “near a gate and on a bumpy stone pavement” is compelling. That’s ridiculous! Wouldn’t, “near a gate and on a bumpy stone pavement” describe just about every street corner in the city of Jerusalem in that day (and maybe even today)? It doesn’t take much to convince you does it?

    Let me take an analogous shot at your logic. Records indicate that the HMS Titanic went down in the north atlantic ocean around 2:20 AM on the morning of April 15th, 1912. The fact that archaeologists found the Titanic, 74 years later, in approximately that same location, in water no less, as was reported back in 1912 is compelling evidence that the subplot in James Cameron’s blockbuster that depicts the brief but intense love affair between Jack and Rose actually took place. Am I using good logic?

    And how do you deal with all the archaeological findings that thoroughly refute various parts of the bible? There are maybe two sites in all of Israel that, when excavated, corroborate any of the Canaanite conquest narrative from the book of Joshua. The rest of the sites have been repeatedly and thoroughly excavated by believer and skeptic alike and the verdict is in. The conquest narrative is a myth. A nation building text. Hagiography aimed at staking claim to the “holy land”. Quite effective historical fiction I’ll agree but not a reflection of reality. And probably not even written until the the 6th century BC. Does your sycophant following know of this evidence? Not from you I’m sure. Or maybe there isn’t really much of a following. They’re not very vocal on Frank’s blogs.

  2. Greg says:

    Oh, and I think it would only be honest to educate your readers regarding the various categories of “archaeologists” that excavate ancient Israeli sites. There are the “ultra-minimalists” who claim that nothing recorded in the bible actually happened and try to make the archaeological evidence prove it. Then there are the “minimalist” like Israel Finkelstein who say that some of the bible describes actual people, places and events but not necessarily accurately. Then there are the “maximalists” or “biblical literalists” or “prove the bible archaeologists” like yourself who hold the bible as their ultimate source of truth and accept and reject archaeological evidence based on whether or not it comports with the biblical text. Then there are those like William Dever that argue the middle against both sides. He rejects the ultra-minimalist view that says the bible is pure fiction and the maximalist view that says everything recorded in the bible happened exactly as recorded. I find Dever’s approach more compelling and less biased that all others mentioned.

    When you describe yourself as an apologist or Christian Case Maker are you not, before any evidence is considered, shackling yourself to a set of assumptions that destroys your objectivity?

  3. Doyle says:

    With respect to “sycophant” followers not responding in defense of his summations, we are only following the Biblical directive to not “…cast our pearls before swine.” That’s Jesus’ way of saying, don’t bother trying to convince the hard heads, they won’t believe you anyway. Belief in the Bible is after all a matter of faith. Maybe God himself is preventing anyone from finding the “magic” stone tablet that removes all doubt. That would remove the necessity for faith. “Ye are saved by grace through faith and that not of works, lest ye boost.”


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