Several of the Anglo-Catholic blogs that I follow have included book recommendations in recent weeks. I thought I would do the same for readers of this site. My recommendation for this month:
Martin Biddle. The Tomb of Christ. Sutton Publishing Ltd: Stroud, Gloucestershire, England. 1999.
Prof. Biddle is Professor of Medieval Archeology and Astor Senior Research Fellow in Medieval Archeology at Hertford College, Oxford. The Tomb of Christ is his well argued and lavishly illustrated report on archeological research he undertook at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in the mid-1990's. His conclusion? The traditional site of Christ's tomb within the great Constantinian church is very probably correct.
Evidence indicates that within the walls of the late Byzantine-style chapel that now sits under the great dome of the church lies the living rock of a first century AD tomb. Biddle hypothesizes that Helena's excavation team in the 330's probably identified Christ' tomb by graffiti written on its walls by late first and early second century Christian pilgrims. Similar graffiti were found on the "Trophy of St. Peter" when archeological excavations were mounted under the high altar of St. Peter's Basilica by the Vatican in the mid-twentieth century.
I found this book to be fascinating and highly informative, providing not only a highly detailed history of this site but a glimpse of pilgrimage practices through the centuries and developments in church architecture during the medieval period. While it is a work of science and not of devotion, there is much that the POD crowd will find to enjoy in this book. Take up and read! Despite its obscure publisher, you may order it from Amazon here.