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Re: orion synagogues (somewhat long)

>        Corbo, in Liber Annus 17 (1967)  pp 101-103, in his report of the
>excavation of Herodium, assigns the conversion of the Triclinium to a
>synagogue to the first Jewish Revolt.  Yadin, in Masada, pp 181-189
>assigns the synagogue to the time of Heros and reconstructed during the
>First Revolt.  The synagogue at Hammath Tiberias is assigned by Dothan
>the 1st century, see Israel Exploration Journal 12 (1962) pp 153-154;
>Biblique 70 (1963) 588-590. The synagogue at Magdala is similar in plan
>to the ones at Herodium and Masada and close to the same time period,
>see Corbo, Liber Annus 24 (1974), p. 22.  The black basalt foundation of
>the 1st century "centurion's synagogue" of Capernaum has been discussed,
>see BAR, 1983, 9:6.

I don't see how publications from the 1960s and 1970s solve debates that
have been raised by publications--especially final reports--since then.
Dothan in his report on Hammat Tiberius places it several centuries later
than C1.  Corbo in his final report on Herodium puts the conversion of the
triclinium into the Second Jewish Revolt (130s).  Yadin's identification
and dating have also been questioned.  The final excavation report (not by
Yadin) does not posit a Herodian synagogue.  Instead, Herod seems to have
used the structure as a stable, and whoever built the benches didn't even
scoop out the (rather deep) dung before laying a floor over it.  Just the
way I'd build a sacred synagogue ;>).
>        Now as to external evidence to support the archaeological
>evidence, what could be more confirmatory to Paul's account in
>Corinthians where "he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath" (Acts
>18:4) where not only the lintel of the synagogue was found with the
>Greek inscription "Hebrew Synagogue" but also Justus' house which was
>next door.  In other words, I don't have to be hit over the head with
>a menorah to come to the conclusion that there were 1st century/
>2nd temple synagogues.  The Matthean scribe sure knew about
>synagogues when he wrote in 85ish
>   Jack Kilmon (jpman@accesscomm.net)
> http://scriptorium.accesscomm.net

With regard to the literary sources, I have proposed a interpretation in my
essay in _Ancient Synagogues_ (Urman and Flesher, Brill, 1995) that is
somewhat complex but involves analysis of all relevant literary material.
Generally, my idea is that (1) synagogues started in the diaspora and came
into Palestine through Galilee (the spot furthest from Jerusalem), which is
essentially supported by the archaeological find around the Mediterranean,
and (2) where there are synagogues in Jerusalem, they have been imported by
non-Palestinians for use as "religious hotels" while they are visiting the
Temple.  The issue is not the existence of synagogues prior to C1, but
where were they.


Paul V. M. Flesher, Director
Religious Studies Program
University of Wyoming
Laramie, WY  82071-3353


Confucius said: "To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study
is dangerous."
Analects 2:15