Historic Jesus
Garden of Gethsemane

"Gethsemane" is an Aramaic word that means oil press," In the first century, the Mount of olives was entirely covered with olive trees. The oil press was located at the foot of the mount across the Kidron Valley from Jerusalem, The exact location of the garden and wine press that are called "the Garden of Gethsemane in the Gospels is unclear, but several churches in the vicinity claimed to be located on the site.

Jesus often went to this secluded garden for reflection and prayer, The custom was well known to Judas Iscariot, who made arrangements to have Jesus captured there following the Last Supper the In the upper room. The description of Jesus' kneeling in prayer at Gethsemane (Luke 22,41) became the model for Christians to kneel when they pray.

Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, reports that Titus during his siege of Jerusalem in A. D. 70 cut down all the trees on the Mount of Olives, and thus also in the garden: "Titus" at once gave his infantry leave to devastate the suburbs, and ordered timber to be collected and (siegework) platforms constructed. Dividing his army into three sections till this work was done, he stationed the spearmen and archers between forms and in front of these the quick-loaders, catapults, and Stone-throwers, to prevent any enemy sorties directed against the works and any attempted interference from the wall. The felling of the trees at once stripped the suburbs bare" (Josephus, The Jewish War, translated by G, A. Williamson, Penguin, 1959, p. 275), Jesus was near Gethsemane when he predicted that Jerusalem would soon be destroyed. Within forty years his prophecy was fulfilled and the garden itself was destroyed,