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We can be pretty sure it isn't in Japan. The two most referenced sites are:

However, both stake their claims by virtue of their proximity to Golgotha. (Proponents of the two tomb sites also disagree on the location of Jesus' crucifixion.) However, I don't see anything in the Gospel texts that indicate where the tomb might have been in relation to the crucifixion site:

And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.—Mark 15:42-47 (ESV)

We know who the tomb belonged to, but not where it was situated. In fact, I can see no reason for the tomb not to be anyone of Second Temple burial sites found around Jerusalem. Given the little we know about Joseph, I'd say the Sanhedrin Tombs1 are as likely than any other candidate. More likely still, the tomb was used by Joseph's family and the connection to Jesus was lost.2 It may very well have been destroyed in one of Jerusalem's many rebuilding projects.

Can we know where Jesus was buried?


1. Oddly, it's difficult to find good information on this site, which is practically neglected. I don't know, for instance, exactly how they got their name or what era they come from. So this suggestion ought to be taken with a shaker of salt.

2. This theory isn't surprising since according to the Gospels, the tomb would have been empty. There was nothing to see and no reason to visit!

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  • I ask this question for the sake of next-month's blog topic. I'd like to link to the question and answers. Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 20:28
  • great question, I recently watched a special on tomb sites just discovered in Isreal... Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 20:41
  • this is purely my opinion, but why does it matter where it was?
    – warren
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 4:14
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    Answer: In Israel. Probably near Jerusalem :) Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 4:26
  • @warren: I think it doesn't matter, but it does matter to lots of Christians. Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 4:49

1 Answer 1

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I believe that God has not given us an answer to this question as it might lead to a form of idolatry. I remember standing in the Princeton Cemetery at the foot of Jonathan Edward's grave (he is one of my heros of the faith) and thinking, my goodness, this is where that godly man's bones rest until the resurrection. I was so tempted to worship the place I was standing in because of it's proximity to a bunch of dead bones?!?! It was a strange feeling, and it was basically a temptation to idolatrous worship.

Now, how much more tempted might we be to worship a hunk or rock which we knew to be the location of that most glorious of events, the resurrection? I believe God has not told us this so that we are not tempted to worship the place.

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    -1: Now, how much more tempted might we be to worship a hunk or rock...: That's ridiculous. If Christians knew where the tomb was, they would surely make pilgrimages, but idolatry is an entirely different behavior.
    – Jim G.
    Commented Mar 25, 2012 at 9:53
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    Idolatry is giving honor or glory to anything but God, in it's grossest form it means associating an object with a deity but that is not the full definition. Calvin called humans idol factories. We make idols of many many different things all day long. So I stand by my statement. Commented Mar 26, 2012 at 18:47
  • And I stand by mine. We're both guessing at what Christians would do if they knew where Jesus' tomb was.
    – Jim G.
    Commented Mar 26, 2012 at 19:03
  • Actually @JimG. I am thinking you are misunderstanding what idolatry is and how deep it goes in all of us. But I may be wrong. :-) Commented Mar 27, 2012 at 16:17
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    In this case, Constantine's mother, Helena successfully thwarted God's plan, because she went to Palestine in the fourth century and claimed to have found the places of Jesus' birth, crucifixion and burial, all of which became places of pilgrimage and veneration. God gave Helena the answer or she made this up, but either way we have idolatry if this is what we would call idolatry. Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 4:31

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