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The Tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul by…
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The Tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul (1957)

by Engelbert Kirschbaum

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There is no actual "evidence" that St Peter or St Paul were interred in any fashion anywhere near the locations where their graves are daily honored and manifestly "worshiped" by their devotees today:

"The discovery of the apostle's grave did not consist in unearthing a materially existing grave which could be proved by an inscription, for instance, to be that of Peter, but in piecing together a by no means easy chain of evidence that a definite, circumscribed burial spot must have been that of the apostle." [16]

This can only be taken as admission that we have no evidence, at all, that St Paul and St Peter were buried or have any remains whatsoever anywhere near the Vatican, which now stands upon a pagan burial ground that had been used in Nero's time as the venue of his "circus". The author admits that no bones, either from excavation or from the relictuaries, corroborate the siting.

In fact, the "evidence" of any "Christian" burials in the vicinity is remarkably thin. A stone panel of a "Gorgonia", depicting a modest woman holding a goblet of wine, is simply not an illustration of a Christian's hope of heaven! [33] Nor does the realistically sorrowful countenance so touchingly presented on the "Head of Woman from Mausoleum of the Valerii" reflect a belief in the immortality of Believers. We are looking at wonderful sculpture of a pagan woman grieving the loss of a loved one. [Plate 8].
  keylawk | Jan 20, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Engelbert Kirschbaumprimary authorall editionscalculated
Murray, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The excavations under the Confessio at St Peter's were not motivated by any doubt about the ancient tradition which here, and only here, honours the grave of the head of the apostles, Peter.
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The discovery of the apostle's grave did not consist in unearthing a materially existing grave which could be proved by an inscription, for instance, to be that of Peter, but in piecing together a by no means easy chain of evidence that a definite, circumscribed burial spot must have been that of the apostle. [16]
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