Four items appear below:

1 Time And Distance Trouble
2 No Time And Distance Trouble
3 Distances and Timing
4 Crucifixion Distances


Dean Dowling

(Investigator 117, 2007 November)

An ad before Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" exhorted people to read the New Testament and then the bishops said "that's exactly what happened."

Would the bishops agree that Jesus was arrested in the Gethsemane garden about 3 a.m. (Mark 14:37, 14:41) and put on the cross at 9 a.m.? (Mark 16:25)

Hence in those six hours He was marched from this garden back to the other side of Jerusalem to be examined first by the ex High priest Annas, then by the Sanhedrin presided over by the High priest Caiaphas (Matt. 26:57, Mark 14:55) at night (when normally Sanhedrin trials were only permitted in daylight and not on the Sabbath), then taken to Pilate (Luke 23:1), then to Herod Antipas (Luke 23:7), then back to Pilate (Luke 23:11), sentenced, handed over to the soldiers to be dressed up as a mock-king, then dragged his cross to Golgotha to be crucified – all this in 6 hours?

Look the map of 30 A.D. Jerusalem in the Revised Standard Version for the distances that were needed to be travelled in six hours.

How was it done? A miracle?

Research shows that it was a Roman political trial and crucifixion, but when Paul went on his four tours of the Mediterranean ending in Rome in 59 A.D. to convert the Romans to Christianity, he shifted the blame for killing the Messiah from the Romans to the Jews for obvious reasons.

Dean R Dowling



(Investigator 118, 2008 January)

Dean Dowling (#117) wonders whether the events and distances when Jesus was crucified could fit into six hours:

    1. Arrested at Gethsemane
    2. Marched to the house of the former High Priest, Annas;
    3. Taken to High Priest Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin;
    4. Questioned by Pontius Pilate;
    5. Interviewed by Herod Antipas;
    6. Returned to Pilate;
    7. Mistreated by Roman soldiers;
    8. Crucified at Golgotha.
Jerusalem was 500 metres east to west, 1200 north to south.

Annas and Caiaphas either occupied separate apartments in one building or had separate houses that shared one courtyard. (Compare John 18:12-27; Mark 14:53-72; Luke 22:54-71) Assuming this was near the Temple it was about 500 metres or five minutes walk from Gethsemene.

Luke mentions 1 hour at the Annas/Caiaphas location (22:59) as only part of the time spent there. The Sanhedrin gathered at Caiaphas' house (Mark 14:53) and met formally to try Jesus "when day came" (Luke 22:66) "early in the morning" (Mark 15:1).

Governor Pontius Pilate lived at Caesarea on the coast but went to Jerusalem during major festivals. The Antonia Fortress stood next to the Temple. But Pilate probably did not stay there but rather in the palace of Herod Antipas. (John 18:28) Herod was ruler of Galilee and had a palace in Jerusalem and was there at the time.

Herod's palace was about 400 metres or 4 minutes walk from the Temple.

The questioning of Jesus by Pilate could fit into half an hour, and by Herod less. Time is saved if messengers went ahead to announce Jesus was being brought.

Whipping and mocking Jesus would require only minutes, perhaps 20. The cross or "tree" would have been ready-made rather than require felling while everyone waited.

Jesus was crucified outside the city walls, probably outside the northern wall – several hundred metres from the Temple and perhaps 600 metres from Herod’s palace.

The total distance from Gethsemane to the Crucifixion was about 1½ kilometres.


Dale Robinson

(Investigator 165, 2015 November)

Regarding the article about the distances walked on the morning of Christ’s crucifixion [#118]:

I just finished walking all the biblical locations from Gethsemane to Herod’s palace. I would absolutely love to watch you walk from Gethsemane to Herod’s palace in 4 minutes. You need to visit Israel. 

Also the palace was not Herod Antipas, he was ruler of Perea and Galilee, his father Herod the Great had build this palace but now it was property of Pilate. If Herod Antipas was here he was a guest of Pilate.

I would be happy to answer more questions for you if you have any. I also just visited the Decapolis cities in Jordan and the area of Perea. Blessings on your future research.



(Investigator 166, 2016 January)

Dale Robinson (#165) is correct in querying the timing I calculated (#118) for the distances walked by Jesus and his guards prior to the Crucifixion.

I timed my own top walking speed prior to writing that article at 7km in one hour. Since the whole trial process of Jesus was done in haste the guards did not amber along as if sightseeing but moved quickly. I assumed their speed was 6km per hour i.e. 1km in ten minutes or 100 metres per minute.

Ancient Jerusalem was bigger than the 500x1200 metres I claimed in #118. The map I consulted had its scale wrong. I've now consulted the Internet and conclude that 1st century Jerusalem measured about 1000 metres west to east, and 1700 metres south to north.

The streets connecting the locations to which the guards marched Jesus would have included some left and right turns making the distances walked greater than "as-the-crow-flies" measurements. The Temple, for example, barred a direct straight route of 1.2km from Gethsemane to the house of Caiaphas.

I suggested (in #118) that Pontius Pilate's headquarters (John 18:28) were in a section of the palace of Herod Antipas. Robinson, however, says that the palace was the property of Pilate since Antipas was the ruler of Galilee and a visitor in Jerusalem.

The palace is called "Herod's palace" because Herod the Great, the father of Herod Antipas, commissioned its construction. The Gospels call it "the governor's palace" and the governor was Pilate. But that does not prove Pilate owned it as his property since it could still be called the "governor's palace" if Pilate routinely stayed there without owning it.

However, the question was not who owned the palace but whether the Gospels allow sufficient time for Jesus to have walked the distances they say he walked between Gethsemane and Golgotha. 

Assuming that Pilate and Antipas were staying in different wings of the same palace, the main distances, measured "as-the-crow-flies", were Gethsemane to the House of Caiaphas 1.2km; from the House of Caiaphas to the palace 0.3km; and the palace to Golgotha (the site of the Crucifixion) 1.0km. Allowing also 1.5km for some left and right turns the total might be 4km.

A brisk walk would do this in 40 minutes. But the final 1km was covered after Jesus was "scourged" and carried the cross which would have slowed the pace.

Nevertheless, all the walking between Jesus' arrest and his Crucifixion as described in the Gospels might have taken 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

This allows plenty of time to fit the other events into the early-morning time-frame such as the trial by the Sanhedrin, and the questioning by Antipas and Pilate. 

An attempt to refute the Crucifixion narratives on the basis that the distances walked were too great and would take too long therefore fails.