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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A new take on the origins of the synagogue Beall, Christopher Egerton 2000

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A N E W T A K E O N T H E ORIGINS OF T H E S Y N A G O G U E by CHRISTOPHER EGERTON B E A L L B . A . , T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f T o r o n t o , 1997 A THESIS S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T  OF  THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF M A S T E R OF ARTS in THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E  STUDIES  ( D e p a r t m e n t o f C l a s s i c a l , N e a r E a s t e r n and R e l i g i o u s Studies) W e accept this thesis as c o n f o r m i n g to the r e q u i r e d standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH  COLUMBIA  July 2000 © Christopher Egerton B e a l l , 2000.  In  presenting  degree freely  at  this  the  thesis  in  partial  fulfilment  University  of  British  Columbia, I agree that the  available for  copying  of  department publication  this or of  reference and study.  thesis by  this  for  his  scholarly  or  her  thesis for  of  I further  purposes  requirements  agree that  may  representatives.  financial  the  It  gain shall not  be  Library  permission  granted  is  by  understood be  of  C W . c«A , Q ^ c y  The University of British C o l u m b i a Vancouver, Canada  Date  DE-6  (2/88)  / \ ^SU^  ,  lOoG  eT*>-k/~  *~eJ-  an  f U J  :  ^ ^ i  advanced  shall make for  the that  allowed without  permission.  Department  for  it  extensive  head  of  my  copying  or  my  written  11  Abstract M y s t e r y shrouds the o r i g i n s o f the synagogue. T h e synagogue is u n k n o w n i n J e w i s h literature u n t i l the s e c o n d century B C E , w h e n it b e c o m e s u b i q u i t o u s i n e v e r y Jewish,  and many  G r e c o - R o m a n texts.  L i k e w i s e , the  earliest  synagogues i n  the  a r c h a e o l o g i c a l r e c o r d do not emerge u n t i l the s e c o n d century B C E i n Israel a n d the D i a s p o r a , yet even the earliest examples seem to share m a n y c o m m o n features. S i n c e the tenth century, s c h o l a r s h i p has sought to u n c o v e r the o r i g i n s o f the synagogue. B e c a u s e o f the p a u c i t y o f the evidence, countless theories exist, p l a c i n g the synagogue i n every p e r i o d f r o m t i m e o f the F i r s t T e m p l e , through to the p e r i o d after the destruction o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e . W i t h o u t further support, h o w e v e r , it is i m p o s s i b l e to validate either the p o s i t i o n o f the theorists or that o f their critics. T h e l a c k o f e v i d e n c e for synagogue o r i g i n s m a k e s it necessary to a p p r o a c h the question f r o m a n e w direction. Instead o f returning to the o l d arguments f o r the o r i g i n s o f the synagogue, this thesis examines a l l o f the e v i d e n c e f o r S e c o n d T e m p l e s y n a g o g u e functions to i l l u m i n a t e the o r i g i n s o f the synagogue. W h i l e there is little e v i d e n c e o f synagogue o r i g i n s , b o t h the textual a n d a r c h a e o l o g i c a l r e c o r d suggest a m u l t i t u d e  of  synagogue functions. T h e different uses f o r the synagogue b y its s u r r o u n d i n g c o m m u n i t y c a n h e l p i n the analysis o f the v a r i o u s theories o f o r i g i n s , as w h a t the synagogue w a s f o r s h o u l d indicate w h y it c a m e about. T h i s thesis isolated f o u r categories o f synagogue f u n c t i o n s : r e l i g i o u s f u n c t i o n s f r o m w i t h i n J u d a i s m , r e l i g i o u s f u n c t i o n s b o r r o w e d f r o m the s u r r o u n d i n g G r e c o - R o m a n w o r l d , c o m m u n i t y f u n c t i o n s , a n d f u n c t i o n s o n l y f o u n d i n synagogue f r o m s p e c i f i c areas, i n d i c a t i n g some degree o f r e g i o n a l diversity. A f t e r e x a m i n i n g all o f the literary  and  Ill  a r c h a e o l o g i c a l evidence for the functions o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue, it b e c a m e evident that the synagogue originated d u r i n g the H e l l e n i s t i c p e r i o d to meet different needs i n the G r e c o - R o m a n D i a s p o r a .  iv  Table of Contents Abstract  ii  List o f Figures  .v  Acknowledgements  vi  C H A P T E R I Introduction  1  1.1.  History o f Scholarship  2  1.2. 1.3. 1.4. 1.5.  Origins Proposition Methodological Concerns Definitions  7 13 14 15  C H A P T E R II Literature 2.1.  25  Jewish Historical Evidence  25  2.2.  Jewish Apocryphal Evidence  37  2.3.  N e w Testament E v i d e n c e  39  2.4. 2.5.  Epigraphic Evidence Papyrological Evidence  47 62  2.6.  Conclusions  63  C H A P T E R III  Archaeology  69  3.1.  B u i l d i n g s that are p r o b a b l y Synagogues  70  3.2.  B u i l d i n g s that m a y have been Synagogues  81  3.3  B u i l d i n g s about w h i c h there is not enough i n f o r m a t i o n to decide i f they are synagogues  90  3.4  B u i l d i n g s that are p r o b a b l y not Synagogues  94  3.5  Conclusions  104  C H A P T E R I V Conclusions  107  4.1.  Functions  107  4.2.  Theories o f O r i g i n  110  4.3.  A r e a s f o r Further S t u d y  112  Works Cited  119  List of Figures F i g u r e 1:  G r e e k a n d L a t i n T e r m s U s e d o f the Second Temple Synagogue  114  Figure 2:  Delos Plan  115  F i g u r e 3:  Masada Plan  115  Figure 4:  HerodiumPlan  116  F i g u r e 5:  GamlaPlan  116  F i g u r e 6:  Capernaum Plan  117  F i g u r e 7:  J e r i c h o P l a n w i t h three stages  117  F i g u r e 8:  J e r i c h o B u i l d i n g arrangement  118  vi  Acknowledgements I a m grateful to a l l those w h o supported m e i n this venture, notably the faculty o f the D e p a r t m e n t o f C l a s s i c a l , N e a r E a s t e r n a n d R e l i g i o u s Studies, as w e l l as the F a c u l t y o f G r a d u a t e Studies at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a . In particular, I w o u l d l i k e to a c k n o w l e d g e the support a n d f r i e n d s h i p o f m y a d v i s o r , D r . R o b e r t C o u s l a n d . T h e impetus b e h i n d this project a n d m y future s c h o l a r l y goals emerged through countless discussions a n d meetings w i t h D r . C o u s l a n d . I w o u l d also l i k e to thank D r s . M o s c a a n d N e u f e l d f o r their support, b o t h i n the h e l p f u l c o m m e n t s a n d i n suggestions o n m y thesis m a n u s c r i p t , a n d i n their g u i d a n c e throughout m y a c a d e m i c development. M y thanks also go to K e v i n W i l k i n s o n f o r h i s i n s i g h t f u l c o m m e n t s a n d h e l p f u l corrections to m y thesis. F i n a l l y , a n d most importantly, it is safe to say that this thesis c o u l d not h a v e been w r i t t e n without the l o v e a n d support o f m y w i f e D e i r d r e . S h e gave m e the t i m e a n d space to w o r k , a n d p r o v i d e d m e w i t h the d r i v e to continue.  Chapter 1 - Introduction  M o s t examinations o f synagogue origins b e g i n w i t h a v a r i a t i o n o n the phrase first c o i n e d b y J o s e p h G u t m a n n i n 1975, "the origins o f the synagogue are shrouded i n mystery."  1  D e s p i t e m o r e than t w e n t y years o f research, G u t m a n n ' s statement is still  l a r g e l y accurate. M o r e evidence f o r the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue has been u n c o v e r e d , but the s y n a g o g u e ' s o r i g i n s r e m a i n an e n i g m a . L a c k o f evidence has not h i n d e r e d the p r o l i f e r a t i o n o f s c h o l a r l y theories about synagogue o r i g i n s , h o w e v e r .  It  seems that to be a s u c c e s s f u l scholar o f the  early  synagogue, one must w e i g h into the fray. S i n c e the sixteenth century, scholars have p r o p o s e d a m u l t i p l i c i t y o f o r i g i n s r a n g i n g c h r o n o l o g i c a l l y o v e r a p e r i o d o f a thousand years a n d g e o g r a p h i c a l l y  f r o m B a b y l o n to Greece. A s n e w scholars emerged, they  c o n c e i v e d o f n e w variations. T h r e e alternate theories have been posited i n the last three years alone: L e e L e v i n e proposes that the synagogue originated i n t o w n meetings h e l d at the c i t y gate,  2  R a c h e l H a c h l i l i advocates a P a l e s t i n i a n o r i g i n ,  3  and in his  recently  p u b l i s h e d D o c t o r a l thesis, D o n a l d B i n d e r suggests that the synagogue g r e w out meetings i n the courtyards o f the Jerusalem T e m p l e .  of  4  H o w c a n so m a n y c o m p e t i n g theories continue to exist? T h e extreme dates a n d geography are, o f course, o n the s c h o l a r l y fringes, but scholars have advocated the m o r e m a i n s t r e a m theories f o r m o r e than f i f t y years. T h e longevity o f these c o m p e t i n g theories is due to the l a c k o f evidence. S c h o l a r s are f o r c e d to e m b e l l i s h , as there are f e w facts. O f t e n , theories are based o n little m o r e than a single line o f text i n B i b l i c a l or a p o c r y p h a l  Joseph Gutmann, "The Origin of the Synagogue: The Current State of the Research," in The Synagogue: Studies in Origins, Archaeology, and Architecture (ed. J. Gutmann; New York: Ktav, 1975), 72. Lee I. Levine, "The Nature and Origin of the Palestinian Synagogue Reconsidered," Journal of Biblical Literature 115 (1996): 426. Rachel Hachlili, "The Origin of the Synagogue: a Re-Assessment," Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Period 28 (1997): 36. 1  2  3  accounts. D e f i c i e n c i e s i n scholarship a l l o w other scholars to challenge the earlier theories a n d - t h e n , i n turn, to o f f e r their o w n alternative theory. R a c h e l H a c h l i l i , f o r e x a m p l e , p r o v i d e s a t h o u g h t f u l analysis o f the v a r i o u s theories o f o r i g i n s i n her recent e x a m i n a t i o n o f the early synagogue, but finishes the paper w i t h a suggested o r i g i n that does not m a t c h the evidence that she has j u s t p r o v i d e d .  5  T h o u g h the l a c k o f evidence m i g h t dissuade some f r o m p u r s u i n g the question, the importance o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue to J e w i s h , E a r l y C h r i s t i a n a n d C l a s s i c a l studies dictates the need to understand the w a y that the synagogue developed. S y n a g o g u e studies i n f l u e n c e m a n y areas o f s c h o l a r s h i p o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e p e r i o d , i n c l u d i n g the role o f w o m e n , the rise a n d interaction  o f R a b b i n i c Judaism and Christianity,  and  J e w i s h / p a g a n relations. Synagogues also continue to be the p r e m i e r institution o f J u d a i s m i n the m o d e r n day, a n d to c o m p r e h e n d the trajectory o f the institution throughout its history, one must understand its origins. F i n a l l y , one c a n i m a g i n e that it is d i f f i c u l t for scholars s t u d y i n g an area to leave s o m e t h i n g so important as the s y n a g o g u e ' s origins left unanswered. T h e r e f o r e , it is necessary to a p p r o a c h the issue once again.  1. History of Scholarship: S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue studies d i d not b e g i n as a distinct area o f study u n t i l the  1960s; h o w e v e r ,  trends  i n synagogue s c h o l a r s h i p that d e v e l o p e d over the past  h u n d r e d years continue to affect m o d e r n theories o f o r i g i n . T h e s e trends arose over f o u r periods o f s c h o l a r s h i p , r o u g h l y c o r r e s p o n d i n g to f o u r periods o f history: p r i o r to 1950, the 1950s, 1960s a n d 70s, a n d p o s t - 1 9 8 0 .  D. Binder, Into the Temple Courts: The Place of the Synagogues in the Second Temple Period (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 1999), 32. Hachlili, "Origin," 45.  4  5  2  l.a. Pre-1950s: D i s c u s s i o n s o f architecture characterised the early p e r i o d o f synagogue studies. H e i n r i c h K o h l a n d C a r l W a t z i n g e r ' s p u b l i c a t i o n o f Antike Synagogen in Galilda i n 1916 set the stage f o r synagogue studies as a distinct f i e l d . S u r v e y i n g eleven synagogue b u i l d i n g s i n the G a l i l e e a n d the G o l a n , they posited an architectural m o d e l f o r synagogue development, n a m e l y the " G a l i l e a n - t y p e " synagogue, w h i c h they dated to the late s e c o n d a n d early t h i r d centuries C E . T h e i r w o r k w a s f o l l o w e d b y a n u m b e r o f other studies i n 6  synagogue archaeology. N o n e w a s as important, h o w e v e r , as E l e a z a r S u k e n i k ' s . I n t h e S c h w e i c h lectures, d e l i v e r e d i n 1934 a n d p u b l i s h e d as Ancient Synagogues in Palestine and Greece, S u k e n i k  demonstrated  what  development, the " b a s i l i c a - t y p e " s y n a g o g u e .  he believed  w a s a later  architectural  7  Trends: Kohl,  Watzinger  and Sukenik  have  h a d a lasting  impact  o n subsequent  a r c h a e o l o g i c a l examinations o f the synagogue. T h e y created the n o t i o n o f an architectural t y p o l o g y o f the synagogue, establishing the p a r a d i g m that a l l synagogues w e r e i n some w a y architecturally related a n d developed i n a set, linear pattern w i t h one f o r m f o l l o w i n g the next. S c h o l a r s h a v e since u s e d their architectural t y p o l o g y r i g i d l y to date synagogue r e m a i n s , often d i s c o u n t i n g archaeological f i n d i n g s that do not agree w i t h the architectural m o d e l s . T h e l e g a c y o f K o h l , W a t z i n g e r a n d S u k e n i k i s evident also i n the o v e r e m p h a s i s 8  o n architectural similarities between S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue b u i l d i n g s . W h e n scholars  Heinrich Kohl and Carl Watzinger, Antike Synagogen in Galilda (Leipzig: O. Zeller, 1916), 219. E.L. Sukenik, Ancient Synagogues in Palestine and Greece (London: Milford, 1934), 46. See, for example, the continued attempts by Gideon Foerster to uphold architectural dating in "The Ancient Synagogues of the Galilee" in The Galilee in Late Antiquity (ed. Lee Levine; New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1992), 291.  6  7  8  3  start w i t h the supposition that synagogue b u i l d i n g s are necessarily related to each other, they m a y f a i l to see the differences,  l.b. 1950s: T h e 1950s were p i v o t a l to the development o f m o d e r n synagogue studies. A s L e v i n e writes, " i t w a s a p e r i o d o f s e m i n a l w o r k i n a l l areas o f J e w i s h s t u d i e s . "  9  In  epigraphy, F r e y ' s s e c o n d v o l u m e o f J e w i s h inscriptions w a s released p o s t h u m o u s l y i n 1952, w h i l e G o o d e n o u g h essentially created the field o f J e w i s h art. T h e excavation a n d p u b l i c a t i o n o f the D u r a E u r o p a s synagogue f u e l l e d the interest o f a generation o f scholars. T h e s e studies were f o l l o w e d b y further collections o f inscriptions, s u c h as Leon's  important w o r k  Fondateurs.  11  The Jews  of Ancient  Rome  10  and Lifshitz'  Donateurs  et  E q u a l l y important f o r this study w a s the foundation a n d establishment o f  the State o f Israel. A t the time, the p o l i t i c a l repercussions o v e r s h a d o w e d archaeological considerations. Y e t since its i n c e p t i o n , Israel has m a i n t a i n e d a strong c o m m i t m e n t to J e w i s h archaeology, a n d has invested considerable m o n e y a n d t i m e i n e x p l o r i n g ancient J e w i s h sites.  Trends: T h e scholars o f the 1950s collected a great deal o f scattered i n f o r m a t i o n into a usable f o r m . T h e s e collections have m a d e a variety o f different data a v a i l a b l e to scholars o f the synagogue since the 1950s, a l l o w i n g f o r a m o r e v a r i e d approach. W h e r e scholars m i g h t once have h a d to spend their w h o l e careers w i t h texts o r e p i g r a p h i c data f r o m one site, n o w scholars c o u l d n o w access evidence f r o m across different d i s c i p l i n e s i n their studies. T h o u g h these collections are p r o b l e m a t i c f o r v a r i o u s reasons, they set the pattern  9 10  Lee I. Levine, The Ancient Synagogue: The First Thousand Years (New Haven: Yale, 2000), 10. Harry Leon, The Jews ofAncient Rome (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1960).  4  for future w o r k , a n d the m u l t i d i s c i p l i n a r y approach o f synagogue studies that d e v e l o p e d i n the 1980s owes m u c h to the w o r k o f these c o m p i l e r s . I.e. 1960s and  70s:  T h e emergence o f n e w synagogue data c o n t i n u e d into the 1960s. A s the Israeli government a c q u i r e d m o r e l a n d f r o m its A r a b neighbours, archaeologists h a d better access to J e w i s h sites. P r i o r to the 1960s, the synagogue o n D e l o s w a s the o n l y p r e - 7 0 C E synagogue that w a s archaeologically attested; h o w e v e r , excavations i n the 1960s a n d 70s u n c o v e r e d S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogues at M a s a d a ( 1 9 6 3 ) , H e r o d i u m ( 1 9 6 7 ) , C a p e r n a u m (1968), a n d G a m l a ( 1 9 7 6 ) .  12  S c h o l a r l y interest i n synagogues i n the M e d i t e r r a n e a n b a s i n  also increased d u r i n g the 1960s and 70s. A . T . K r a a b e l ' s w o r k o n the S a r d i s synagogue i n s p i r e d h i m to f o c u s his career o n the f o r m a n d f u n c t i o n o f the D i a s p o r a synagogue. P h i l i p p e B r u n e a u re-excavated the D e l o s b u i l d i n g .  13  H i s w o r k w a s the first to c o n s i d e r  the synagogue as an integrated part o f the social a n d religious system o f the s u r r o u n d i n g culture, rather than as distinct f r o m it. S c h o l a r s h i p i n H e l l e n i s t i c J u d a i s m i n the 1960s a n d 70s, though not  directly  related to synagogue studies, h e l p e d shape notions o f h o w synagogues operated i n the D i a s p o r a . A . T c h e r i k o v e r , E . B i c k e r m a n , a n d M a r t i n H e n g e l r e d e f i n e d the w a y that scholarship considered J u d a i s m ' s interaction w i t h its G r e e k n e i g h b o u r s .  14  T h e s e scholars  p r o p o s e d that J e w s i n the G r e e k w o r l d interacted w i t h the w o r l d around t h e m , s p e a k i n g  B. Lifshitz, Donateurs et fondateurs dans les synagogues Juives (Paris: J. Gabalda et Cie, 1967). The increase in publications devoted to the synagogue during this period is testimony to the increasing importance of synagogue studies. The publication of articles, mostly in Hebrew, was followed by the Encyclopedia ojArchaeology in the Holy Land'in 1976 and Ancient Synagogues Revealed in 1981 (ed. Lee I. Levine; Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society). Philippe Bruneau, Recherches sur les cultes de Delos a I 'epoque hellenistique et a I 'epoque imperiale, Biblioteque des ecolesfrancaises d'Athenes et de Rome,fasc. 217 (Paris: E. de Boccard, 1970). 11  12  13  5  and r e a d i n g G r e e k a n d i n c o r p o r a t i n g G r e e k thought into their n o t i o n o f J u d a i s m . T h e y challenged the  dominant  paradigm,  which  c o n s i d e r e d that the  Jewish  community  struggled to m a i n t a i n its i s o l a t i o n f r o m G r e e k influences. K r a a b e l ' s w o r k o n the D i a s p o r a synagogue depended o n the reinterpretation o f J u d a i s m p r o v i d e d b y this p a r a d i g m s h i f t .  15  Trends: T h e 1960s anticipated the development o f contemporary approaches to synagogue studies. N e w data became available to scholars f r o m archaeology, a n d trends i n research outside synagogue studies a l l o w e d for n e w interpretations o f h o w synagogues f u n c t i o n e d i n relation to the s u r r o u n d i n g culture. T h i s change l e d directly to theories o f D i a s p o r a origins for the synagogue. In some w a y s , the i m p a c t o f J e w i s h a n d G r e e k interaction i n the H e l l e n i s t i c w o r l d is o n l y n o w b e i n g felt i n synagogue studies,  l.d. Post-1980: N e w methodologies for both archaeological a n d literary materials have c h a n g e d the w a y s that synagogue scholars consider evidence. T h e w o r k o f J a c o b N e u s n e r i n reassessing the h i s t o r i c a l r e l i a b i l i t y o f the M i s h n a i c materials has h a d a p r o f o u n d effect o n J u d a i c , early C h r i s t i a n a n d synagogue s t u d i e s . Strange's  work  on  the  archaeology  of  the  16  L i k e w i s e , E r i c M e y e r s ' s and James  synagogue  has  altered  the  way  that  archaeological investigations o f synagogues are undertaken. T h e i r j o i n t p u b l i c a t i o n o n the synagogue at M e i r o n set the standard f o r synagogue archaeological r e p o r t s .  17  R e c e n t synagogue studies have been characterised b y a h o l i s t i c a p p r o a c h to the study o f the synagogue. S i n c e the p u b l i c a t i o n o f Ancient Synagogues Revealed a n d The  A. Tcherikover, Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1959); and M. Hengel, Judaism and Hellenism: Studies in Their Encounter in Palestine During the Early Hellenistic Period (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981). Levine, The First Thousand Years, 11. 14  15  6  Ancient Synagogue: the State of Research i n 1 9 8 1 , most o f the important w o r k o n synagogues has been p u b l i s h e d i n collections. T h e s e collections attempt to b r i n g scholars f r o m different areas together to p o o l their expertise and to a p p r o a c h the synagogue f r o m as m a n y directions as possible. A recent c o l l e c t i o n o n the synagogue, f o r e x a m p l e , contains articles b y B i b l i c a l , N e w Testament a n d R a b b i n i c scholars, R o m a n historians, and archaeologists.  18  C o l l e c t i o n s o f articles translated f r o m m o d e r n H e b r e w have also  been important t o the recent study o f the synagogue. Ancient Synagogues: Historical Analysis and Archaeological Discovery, edited b y D a n U r m a n a n d P a u l Flesher, i s a n excellent e x a m p l e .  19  2. Origins: A n c i e n t J e w i s h writers d o n o t discuss the o r i g i n s o f the synagogue. T h e o n l y J e w i s h literary  evidence f r o m the p e r i o d o f f o r m a t i v e  J u d a i s m , the J e w i s h inter-  testamental w r i t i n g s , r e m a i n m o s t l y silent. I n the a p o c r y p h a , o n l y S u s a n n a mentions c o m m u n i t y meetings i n the s y n a g o g u e .  20  T h e r e does n o t seem to b e a n y m e n t i o n o f  synagogue structures i n the sectarian literature o f Q u m r a n , either.  Only Philo and  Josephus g i v e clear literary references to synagogues, a n d b y then each w r i t e r attests that synagogues are w i d e s p r e a d , f o u n d i n every sector o f A l e x a n d r i a a n d throughout R o m e . S i n c e the 1970s, the study o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue has been essentially the study o f synagogue origins. S c h o l a r s have suggested a w i d e range o f theories;  D. Binder, Temple Courts, 11. Levine, First Thousand Years, 187. Steven Fine, ed., Jews, Christians and Polytheists in the Ancient Synagogue: Cultural Interaction during the Greco-Roman Period (New York: Routledge, 1999). Dan Urman and Paul Flesher, eds., Ancient Synagogues: Historical Analysis and Archaeological Discovery (Koln: E.J. Brill, 1995). Susl:4. Lawrence Schiffirian, "Dead Sea Scrolls and the Early History of Jewish Liturgy," in The Synagogue in Late Antiquity (ed. Lee I. Levine; Philadelphia: American Schools of Oriental Research, 1987), 35. 1 6  17  1 8  1 9  2 0 2 1  7  h o w e v e r , the v a r i o u s theories c a n be g r o u p e d into s i x categories: o r i g i n s i n F i r s t T e m p l e J u d a i s m , the B a b y l o n i a n e x i l e , the return u n d e r E z r a a n d N e h e m i a h , the G r e c o - R o m a n D i a s p o r a , P h a r i s a i c o r p r o t o - R a b b i n i c J u d a i s m , a n d after the destruction o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e i n 70 C E .  2.a. First Temple Judaism: In the first h a l f o f the twentieth century some b e g a n to suggest that the synagogue m a y h a v e begun before the B a b y l o n i a n e x i l e .  22  T h e y f o u n d p r o o f f o r a pre-destruction  synagogue i n texts l i k e P s 74:8: " a l l the m e e t i n g places i n the l a n d " a n d Jer 3 9 : 8 : " t h e houses o f the p e o p l e . "  23  T h e r e h a v e been a n u m b e r o f different p o s s i b i l i t i e s suggested as  to w h i c h s p e c i f i c incident brought about the development o f the synagogue. L e v y , f o r example, argued that it d e v e l o p e d out o f the c u s t o m o f m e e t i n g w i t h a prophet to engage in communal prayer.  24  M o r e recently, J o s i a h ' s D e u t e r o n o m i c r e f o r m a t i o n i n the F i r s t  T e m p l e p e r i o d i n 621 B C E has b e c o m e the m o r e p o p u l a r suggestion. W h e n the K i n g r e f o r m e d temple w o r s h i p a n d destroyed all o f the sites f o r w o r s h i p outside o f J e r u s a l e m , the p e o p l e h a d a r e l i g i o u s v o i d that they filled b y c o n t i n u i n g to meet at the s a m e w o r s h i p sites f o r c o m m u n a l r e l i g i o u s o b s e r v a n c e .  25  Dan Urman and Paul Flesher, "Ancient Synagogues - a Reader's Guide,"in Analysis and Discovery, xxi. Wolfgang Schrage, "synagoge" in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey William Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich; 10 Vols.; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 19641976), 7:810. Isaac Levy, The Synagogue: Its History and Function (London: Vallentine, 1963), 12. Suggested by J. Morgenstern, "The Origin of the Synagogue," Studi Orientalistici in Onore di G. Levi della Vida, IIPubblicazionidell'IstitutoperI'Oriente, 52 (1956): 195.  2 2  2 3  2 4 2 5  8  Problem: T h e r e is n o evidence f o r this t h e o r y .  26  T h e synagogue is not m e n t i o n e d i n any o f  the literature f r o m this p e r i o d , a n d n o b u i l d i n g s identifiable as synagogues have been found.  2.b. Exilic Period: A n c i e n t R a b b i n i c sources first suggested the B a b y l o n i a n exile as the impetus f o r the s y n a g o g u e ' s o r i g i n s , w h i c h r e m a i n e d the p o s i t i o n o f the m a j o r i t y o f scholars u n t i l the 1970s.  It is argued that the J e w s , after the destruction o f the T e m p l e a n d the e x i l e to  B a b y l o n , needed s o m e f o c u s f o r their w o r s h i p a n d c o m m u n a l activities. T h e y  formed  synagogues to keep their traditions a n d practices alive. T h i s theory addressed T a l m u d i c , a n d later R a b b i n i c a l references to s p e c i f i c synagogues i n B a b y l o n , w h i c h the sources c l a i m w e r e b u i l t d u r i n g the exile.  Problem: The  first challenges to this  theory  began d u r i n g  the 1930s, w i t h  scholars  suggesting the alternatives listed here. It has o n l y been since the 1970s, h o w e v e r , that s i g n i f i c a n t questions have been r a i s e d .  28  T h e s e p r i m a r i l y i n v o l v e the anachronistic use o f  R a b b i n i c evidence. F o r instance, part o f the p r o o f o f the synagogue's o r i g i n s i n B a b y l o n comes f r o m R a b b i n i c references to t w o synagogues that were allegedly b u i l t d u r i n g the B a b y l o n i a n exile. In h i s study o f the evidence, h o w e v e r , A h a r o n O p p e n h e i m e r s h o w e d that the o n l y supporting evidence f o r the early date o f these synagogues came f r o m the B a b y l o n i a n T a l m u d , a document c o m p o s e d a thousand years after the synagogues w e r e  See J. Gutmann, "Synagogue Origins: Theories and Facts," in Ancient Synagogue: The State of Research (ed. J. Gutmann; Michigan: Brown Judaic Studies no. 22, 1981): 1-6. Even in 1981, most scholars supported a Babylonian origin; see Lee I. Levine, "Ancient Synagogues: A Historical Introduction," in Ancient Synagogues Revealed, 3.  2 6  2 7  9  supposedly  erected.  T h e references  were  likely  included,  h e suggests, because  B a b y l o n i a n J e w s c o n s i d e r e d themselves instrumental to the development o f J u d a i s m .  2 9  Further, a p o s t - e x i l i c B a b y l o n i a n o r i g i n o f the synagogue l i k e l y w o u l d have f o u n d its w a y into the literary record. In the a p o c r y p h a l b o o k o f T o b i t , f o r e x a m p l e , w h e n T o b i t tells h i s s o n h o w to l i v e p r o p e r l y , it w o u l d seem appropriate f o r h i m to m e n t i o n synagogue a t t e n d a n c e .  30  T h e r e is also n o e p i g r a p h i c o r a r c h a e o l o g i c a l e v i d e n c e l i n k i n g  the o r i g i n o f synagogues to B a b y l o n . T h e sole s u p p o r t i n g evidence f o r this theory c o m e s f r o m the T a l m u d , a document c o m p i l e d 1000 years after the o r i g i n supposedly took place.  2.c. Ezra and Nehemiah: A  t h i r d theory places the o r i g i n s o f the synagogue i n the t i m e o f E z r a a n d  N e h e m i a h . It is argued that the T o r a h r e a d i n g ceremonies i n the T e m p l e court, w h i c h began d u r i n g this t i m e , g r e w into a set r i t u a l , a n d eventually took o n a n architectural form.  3 1  T h o s e w h o advocate this v i e w disagree as to w h e n exactly it d e v e l o p e d into a set  structure, b u t a l l suggest a g r a d u a l , not r a d i c a l , g r o w t h .  32  Problem: A l l o f the early e v i d e n c e f o r the synagogue is f o u n d outside o f the H o l y L a n d . I f the practice o f T o r a h r e a d i n g w a s really responsible f o r the development o f the synagogue, it w o u l d seem reasonable to assume that the earliest e v i d e n c e w o u l d be f r o m  Urman and Flesher, "Guide," xxii. Aharon Oppenheimer, "Babylonian Synagogues with Historical Associations," in Analysis and Discovery, 40. J . Gwyn Griffiths, "Egypt and the Rise of the Synagogue," in Urman and Flesher, Analysis and Discovery, 3. Hachlili, "Origin," 36. A variation on this theory has been suggested by Lee Levine. He argues that the synagogue developed out of the practice of meeting at the city gate ("Origin," 425-448). 2 9  30  3 1  3 2  10  Palestine. F u r t h e r m o r e ,  as w i t h the previous  t w o theories, there  i s n o supporting  evidence.  2.d. Greco-Roman Diaspora: Increasingly, scholars consider synagogues to have originated i n the western, G r e c o - R o m a n D i a s p o r a . T h e earliest i n s c r i p t i o n s m e n t i o n i n g proseuche are f o u n d i n Egypt,  3 3  a n d the earliest i d e n t i f i e d synagogue b u i l d i n g i s o n the G r e e k i s l a n d o f D e l o s ,  w h i c h pre-dates P a l e s t i n e synagogues b y a h u n d r e d years. W h i l e s o m e scholars h a v e challenged b o t h the e p i g r a p h i c a n d archaeological evidence, the great preponderance o f it suggests their doubts are u n f o u n d e d .  34  It m a y b e possible to d i s p r o v e one s y n a g o g u e ' s  authenticity, but not that o f the w h o l e o f the discovered corpus. J e w i s h i n s c r i p t i o n s f r o m P a n t i c a p e u m o n the B l a c k S e a , R o m e , a n d the F a y u m O a s i s i n L o w e r E g y p t m a k e reference to synagogues. It has even been suggested that there m a y have been an early synagogue i n the agora i n A t h e n s .  35  Problem: There  is only  circumstantial  evidence  to support  Diaspora  origins. T h e  M e d i t e r r a n e a n b a s i n contains the earliest evidence f o r synagogues, b u t that does n o t necessarily m e a n that they originated there.  2.e. Pharisaic/Proto-Rabbinic Judaism: T h e f i f t h theory argues that the synagogue g r e w out o f the P h a r i s a i c a n d protoR a b b i n i c m o v e m e n t s i n the S e c o n d century B C E . A d v o c a t e s believe that the d i s c u s s i o n s  Martin Hengel argued for an Egyptian origin in his, "Proseuche und Synagoge: Jiidische Gemeinde, Gotteshaus und Gottesdienst in der Diaspora und in Palaestina," in Tradition und Glaube: Das fruehe Christentum in seiner Umwelt (ed. Gert Jeremias, et al.; Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1971). It was expanded by Griffiths, "Rise". See the discussion of Kee and Horsley's position below. A.T. Kraabel, "The Diaspora Synagogue: Archaeological and Epigraphic Evidence since Sukenik," in Urman and Flesher, Analysis and Discovery, 125.  3 3  3 4  3 5  11  o f legal questions and the ritual S a b b a t h practices created a need f o r a b u i l d i n g f o r the assembly o f s c h o l a r s .  36  Problem: T h e earliest evidence f o r the synagogue predates the development o f P h a r i s a i c J u d a i s m a n d suggests that it originated p r i o r to the s e c o n d century B C E .  2.f. Post-70 C E : T h e f i n a l theory, a n d one advocated most strongly b y H o r s l e y a n d K e e , i s that the synagogue began w e l l after the destruction o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e , a n d d i d not g a i n p r o m i n e n c e before the T h i r d century C E . T h e synagogue originated, they argue, i n the l o c a l v i l l a g e c o u n c i l s that were the f o c a l p o i n t  f o r the c o m m u n i t y  outside o f the  household. T h e s e groups met i n the city square w h e r e the c o m m u n i t y leaders w o u l d t r y c r i m i n a l s a n d hear petitions, m u c h as the elders i n S u s a n n a d o .  3 7  Structures f o r these  meetings o n l y began i n the T h i r d C e n t u r y a n d were m o d e l l e d o n the R o m a n b a s i l i c a . T h u s , it is c l a i m e d , none o f the p r i o r evidence f o r synagogues f o u n d i n Palestine i s interpreted accurately. T h e s e scholars suggest that the b u i l d i n g s dated f r o m the first century were not synagogues. Instead they argue that the b u i l d i n g s at G a m l a a n d M a s a d a were private h o u s e s .  38  T h e y discount the evidence f r o m Josephus a n d P h i l o a n d c l a i m  that the term proseuche i n the e p i g r a p h i c r e c o r d does not refer to s y n a g o g u e s .  39  For example, Gutmann, "Synagogue Origins," 75. For a more recent proponent see Shaye Cohen, "Were Pharisees and Rabbis the Leaders of Communal Prayer and Torah Study in Antiquity? The Evidence of the New Testament, Josephus and the Early Church Fathers," in Evolution of the Synagogue: Problems and Progress (ed. Howard Clark Kee and Lynn H. Cohick; Valley Forge: Trinity, 1999), 91. Richard Horsley, Galilee, History, Politics, People (Valley Forge: Trinity, 1995), 227. Horsley, Galilee, 224. See the discussion of these buildings below. H.C. Kee, in "The Transformation of the Synagogue after 70 C.E.: Its Import for Early Christianity," ATC36(1990):3. 3 6  3 7  3 8  3 9  12  Problem: In the w o r d s o f L e e L e v i n e , h o w e v e r , advocates o f this p o s i t i o n are " p a t e n t l y wrong."  4 0  T h e r e i s a n o v e r w h e l m i n g amount o f evidence that supports the existence o f  synagogues before the t h i r d century C E . N o t o n l y are synagogues m e n t i o n e d b y P h i l o , Josephus, a n d early C h r i s t i a n authors, but i n n u m e r o u s i n s c r i p t i o n s also. T h e c o n n e c t i o n b e t w e e n proseuche  a n d synagoge is c e r t a i n ,  41  a n d there i s n o doubt that these w e r e  b u i l d i n g s a n d d i d exist. W r i t e r s a r g u i n g f o r this theory are f o r c e d to s p e n d a l l o f their t i m e d i s c o u n t i n g e v i d e n c e to p r o v e their ideas rather than e x a m i n i n g the e v i d e n c e to understand the question b e t t e r .  42  2. g. Overall Problems with the Theories of Origin: M o s t o f the above theories are based o n the assumption that the synagogue developed out o f a s p e c i f i c r e l i g i o u s o r s o c i a l crisis i n J u d a i s m . S c h o l a r s e x a m i n e literary e v i d e n c e f o r a p a r t i c u l a r l y traumatic event a n d then posit a n o r i g i n . T h e y ignore the e v i d e n c e f r o m the synagogue itself. Further, a l l o f these theories are based o n little m o r e than s u p p o s i t i o n . M a n y o f the theories are v i a b l e suggestions, b u t l a c k s u f f i c i e n t support to m a k e t h e m certain. M a n y c r i t i c i s m s o f s p e c i f i c theories are also i n s u f f i c i e n t a n d are f o r c e d to argue f r o m silence. T h e l a c k o f e v i d e n c e has created a s e e m i n g l y unbreakable impasse.  3. Proposition: T h e debate m a y not b e hopeless, h o w e v e r . T h o u g h there is little e v i d e n c e f o r synagogue o r i g i n s , m a n y ancient sources refer to v a r i o u s f u n c t i o n s o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue. I propose to e x a m i n e the evidence f o r s p e c i f i c activities that took p l a c e i n the  4 0  4 1  Levine, "Origin," 444. See the literary definition section below.  13  S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue, to see i f the functions o f the synagogue c a n b e u s e d to i l l u m i n a t e the s y n a g o g u e ' s origins. T h e literary  a n d archaeological evidence f o r the S e c o n d T e m p l e  suggests that synagogues served a variety s y n a g o g u e ' s o r i g i n s w e r e multivalent. synagogue  m a y have  developed  o f functions.  Thus  synagogue  it m a y b e that the  R a t h e r than there b e i n g a single o r i g i n , the  gradually  a n d independently  i n each  community  throughout the G r e c o - R o m a n w o r l d , reacting i n response to each c o m m u n i t y ' s needs. I w i l l e x a m i n e the literary a n d a r c h a e o l o g i c a l evidence f o r the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue, suggest some i d e a o f synagogue f u n c t i o n s as i m p l i e d b y the evidence, a n d then see w h a t c o n c l u s i o n s m a y b e d r a w n about the o r i g i n s o f the synagogue. I realise that m i n e is a n imperfect m e t h o d a n d I w i l l endeavour not to f a l l prey to the errors o f m y predecessors, especially as I have taken t h e m to task f o r their m i s u s e o f evidence. It m a y be, f o r e x a m p l e , that b y c o n n e c t i n g synagogue o r i g i n s a n d functions I a m t a k i n g the evidence too far. H o w e v e r , the evidence f o r o r i g i n s i s ultimately too a m b i g u o u s to b e o f use, a n d i f f u n c t i o n c a n help to i l l u m i n a t e the dark corners o f the s y n a g o g u e ' s o r i g i n s , it s h o u l d not b e neglected.  4. Methodological Concerns: It is i m p o s s i b l e to analyse the f u n c t i o n o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue w i t h o u t m a k i n g some assumptions. I w i l l try to keep them to a m i n i m u m , a n d w i l l support m y assumptions w i t h evidence f r o m the S e c o n d T e m p l e p e r i o d rather than r e l y i n g o n later R a b b i n i c evidence f o r m y arguments. T h o u g h some R a b b i n i c evidence m a y relate to the S e c o n d T e m p l e p e r i o d , little o f it i s u s e f u l to a d i s c u s s i o n o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue. P r e v i o u s generations o f  4 2  See the recent articles by Kee and Horsley in Kee and Cohick, Evolution of the Synagogue. 14  scholars o f the synagogue were q u i c k to use R a b b i n i c e v i d e n c e ; h o w e v e r , the w o r k o f J . N e u s n e r has c a l l e d m u c h o f that reliance o n R a b b i n i c sources into q u e s t i o n .  43  H e argued  that the p r e - 7 0 traditions revealed n o u s e f u l i n f o r m a t i o n about the s y n a g o g u e .  44  Paul  F l e s h e r m a i n t a i n s the same p o s i t i o n , that, none o f the r a b b i n i c texts p u b l i s h e d p r i o r to about 2 5 0 C E . refer to synagogues p r i o r to 7 0 . T h e tannaitic m i d r a s h i m - T h e M e k h i l t a s , S i f r a , the t w o S i f r e s rarely m e n t i o n synagogues at a l l a n d never i n a pre-70 context. T h e M i s h n a h , w h i l e it discusses synagogues i n a n u m b e r o f places, never depicts t h e m p r i o r to 70 either... It i s n o t u n t i l the later texts, s u c h as the T o s e f t a a n d the T a l m u d s , that synagogues are m e n t i o n e d that supposedly existed p r i o r to 7 0 . T h e lateness o f these texts, particularly i n l i g h t o f the silence o f the earlier texts, renders the i n f o r m a t i o n f r o m the later sources extremely s u s p e c t .  45  G i v e n these m e t h o d o l o g i c a l d i f f i c u l t i e s , R a b b i n i c sources w i l l not b e used.  5. Definitions: 5.a. Literary: W h i l e m a n y o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e p e r i o d ' s literary sources m a k e reference to synagogues, the use o f a m b i g u o u s t e r m i n o l o g y complicates literary analysis w i t h regard to synagogue f u n c t i o n .  46  T h e textual a n d e p i g r a p h i c evidence f o r the S e c o n d T e m p l e  synagogue uses a n u m b e r o f different terms f o r the synagogue i n c l u d i n g : synagoge, hieron, sabbateion, didaskalon,  proseuche,  a n d amphitheatron (see figure 1). H i s t o r i c a l l y ,  most o f the arguments have r e v o l v e d a r o u n d proseuche  a n d synagoge, the t w o most  c o m m o n terms u s e d f o r the synagogue.  For example, Jacob Neusner, The Rabbinic Traditions about the Pharisees before 70 CE (Leiden: Brill, 1971), 1:2. Neusner, Rabbinic Traditions, 3:289. (Cited in Binder, Temple Courts, 12). Paul Flesher, "Palestinian Synagogues before 70 C E . A Review of the Evidence," Urman and Flesher, Analysis and Discovery, 29-30, no.8. The attempts by Kee, Horsley, and Flesher to challenge the existence of thefirstcentury synagogue are all based on challenging the meaning of the terms (H.C. Kee, "Defining the First Century Synagogue: Problems and Progress," in Kee and Cohink, Evolution of the Synagogue, 12; Horsley, Galilee, 224; and Flesher, "Palestinian Synagogues," 29. 4 3  4 4  4 5  4 6  15  5.a.i. proseuche T h e t e r m proseuche has been c h a l l e n g e d o n t w o fronts: that it does not refer to a building,  4 7  a n d that it is not e x c l u s i v e l y a J e w i s h t e r m .  48  T h e internal evidence f r o m the  inscriptions a n d p a p y r i leave n o doubt that proseuche refers to a b u i l d i n g . O n e i n s c r i p t i o n f r o m 180 - 145 B C E , f o r e x a m p l e , clearly refers to architectural additions to an e x i s t i n g structure: O n b e h a l f o f K i n g P t o l e m y a n d Q u e e n C l e o p a t r a a n d their  children,  H e r m i a s a n d h i s w i f e P h i l o t e r a a n d their c h i l d r e n (gave) this exedra to the  proseuche  4 9  A n exedra w a s an o p e n s i d e d r o o m w h i c h w a s annexed to a m a i n h a l l a n d c o u l d not have been free s t a n d i n g .  50  P a p y p r o l o g i c a l evidence supports this contention as w e l l , detailing  l a n d z o n i n g a n d water usage f o r the b u i l d i n g . T h e r e i s e v e n a story o f a t h i e f e s c a p i n g t o the proseuche to h i d e .  5 1  T h e second c l a i m , that proseuche does not necessarily refer to a J e w i s h b u i l d i n g , is also erroneous. Irina L e v i n s k a y a has demonstrated that the t e r m is never u s e d to denote a non-Jewish building.  5 2  I n v o k i n g G o o d e n o u g h ' s c l a i m that epigraphists s h o u l d p r e s u m e  that a n y i n s c r i p t i o n w h i c h uses the w o r d is p r o b a b l y J e w i s h unless other contradicts i t ,  53  evidence  L e v i n s k a y a e x a m i n e d a l l uses o f the w o r d , a n d s h o w e d that, w h i l e  proseuche w a s never u s e d i n C l a s s i c a l , a n d rarely i n H e l l e n i s t i c sources, it is f o u n d  Ellis Rivkin, "Ben Sira and the Non Existence of the Synagogue: A Study in Historical Method," in In the Time of Harvest, Essays in Honor ofAbba Hillel Silver on the Occasion of his 70 Birthday (Daniel Silver, ed.; New York: MacMillan, 1963), 352. (Cited by Binder, Temple Courts, 114). Kee, "Transformation," 3. William Horbury and David Noy, Jewish Inscriptions of Graeco-Roman Egypt (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 28. According to a reference in Plutarch, it is used to provide seating for philosophic and communal debate (Bru. xiv, 2. Cited by Horbury and Noy, Jewish Inscriptions, 49). CPJ 1.129. Irina Levinskaya, "A Jewish or Gentile Prayer House? The meaning of PROSEUCHE (grk)," Tyndale Bulletin 41:1 (1990), 155.  4 7  th  4 8  4 9  5 0  51  5 2  16  extensively i n J e w i s h ones. Furthermore, writers l i k e J u v e n a l use the L a t i n proseucha, m e a n i n g synagogue, w i t h o u t differentiating between it a n d n o n - J e w i s h b u i l d i n g s . In the earliest e p i g r a p h i c a n d literary evidence f r o m E g y p t , proseuche i s a l w a y s the term u s e d f o r the synagogue b u i l d i n g .  5 4  It c o n t i n u e d to be u s e d i n E g y p t into R o m a n  times a n d also seems to have been the t e r m most c o m m o n l y u s e d i n m u c h o f the D i a s p o r a t h r o u g h the first century C E . Proseuche w a s u s e d b y Josephus a n d P h i l o a n d w a s u n c o v e r e d i n i n s c r i p t i o n s f r o m the B o s p o r u s K i n g d o m o n the n o r t h shore o f the B l a c k Sea.  5 5  5.a.ii. synagoge: T h e development o f the term synagoge i s d i f f i c u l t to trace, a n d has been t h e source o f some debate. I n the Septuagint, the t e r m synagoge i s frequently u s e d t o translate b o t h  'edah a n d qahal as the assembled congregation o f I s r a e l .  apocryphal writings community.  57  55  In the  a n d e p i g r a p h i c sources, synagoge w a s u s e d t o denote the l o c a l  B y the first century B C E , h o w e v e r , it also came to b e associated w i t h the  b u i l d i n g that the c o m m u n i t y gathered i n . T h e earliest reference t o synagoge as a b u i l d i n g c o m e s i n the O l d G r e e k v e r s i o n o f S u s a n n a , dated to the s e c o n d o r first century B C E (see b e l o w ) . T h e r e are a n u m b e r o f references to synagoge as a b u i l d i n g i n the N e w Testament material a l s o .  58  Josephus a n d P h i l o b o t h use the term, t h o u g h it i s interesting that i n b o t h  cases it is u s e d f o r a b u i l d i n g i n Palestine.  E.R. Goodenough, Jewish Symbols in the Graeco-Roman Period(13 Vols.; New York: Pantheon Books, 1953-68), 2:86. Horbury and Noy, Jewish Inscriptions, 14. Irina Levinskaya "Appendix 3: Inscriptions from the Bosporan Kingdom," in The Book of Acts in its Diaspora Setting (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1996), 236. Schrage, "synagoge" 7:802. Schrage, "synagoge," 7:806. These continue to be challenged by Kee. See below for further detail. 5 4  5 5  5 6  5 7  5 8  17  S.a.iii. Theories about synagoge and proseuche T h e r e h a v e been f o u r  major  theories c o n c e r n i n g the m e a n i n g a n d u s e o f  proseuche a n d synagoge: 1) that the terms w e r e date s p e c i f i c , 2 ) that they w e r e b a s e d o n geographical l o c a t i o n , 3 ) they denoted different f u n c t i o n s ; o r 4 ) they w e r e s i m p l y t w o different w a y s o f s a y i n g the same thing. A c c o r d i n g to the first theory, proseuche w a s used to denote the b u i l d i n g i n the early years o f synagogue development, a n d synagoge the  community.  59  Later,  however,  the b u i l d i n g s  themselves  became  k n o w n as  synagogues. T h i s theory does seem to have some merit; later synagogue b u i l d i n g s tended to b e c a l l e d synagoge, w h i l e the use o f the term proseuche seems to drop off. T h e r e i s e n o u g h overlap to m a k e it u n l i k e l y , though. Proseuche w a s still b e i n g u s e d i n the same geographic r e g i o n after synagoge g a i n e d p o p u l a r i t y . T h i s i s evident i n a n E g y p t i a n i n s c r i p t i o n f r o m the 1st o r early 2 n d C e n t u r y C E , P a p o u s b u i l t the proseuche o n b e h a l f o f h i m s e l f a n d h i s w i f e a n d c h i l d r e n . In the f o u r t h year, P h a r m o u t h 7 .  6 0  T h e suggestion o f a g e o g r a p h i c a l basis f o r the d i f f e r e n c e i n t e r m i n o l o g y i s also i n t r i g u i n g . T h r o u g h o u t the D i a s p o r a , the b u i l d i n g w a s c o m m o n l y c a l l e d a proseuche, b u t i n the earliest evidence f r o m P a l e s t i n e it i s referred to as a synagoge. E v e r y w h e r e f r o m E g y p t to the n o r t h shore o f the B l a c k Sea, proseuche is the o n l y term i n evidence. T h e r e is at least one e x c e p t i o n to this, h o w e v e r . Josephus, i n the passage w h e r e he detailed the m e e t i n g o f the c o m m u n i t y i n T i b e r i a s d u r i n g the J e w i s h revolt, referred to the m e e t i n g p l a c e as a large proseuche.  61  Schurer, E., The History of the Jewish People in the Age ofJesus Christ (175 BC - AD 135). (3 vols.; rev. G. Vermes, et al.; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1973-86), 2:440. Horbury and Noy, Jewish Inscriptions, 214. This is the only reference to a Palestinian proseuche found in Josephus. Binder offers the intriguing suggestion that this might be because the Life was written well after Josephus arrived in Rome, where proseuche was the common term for the synagogue building. Binder, Temple Courts, 117. 5 9  6 0  6 1  18  A n o t h e r p i e c e o f evidence for a geographical connection comes f r o m P h i l o . In h i s w o r k s , he a l w a y s referred to the proseuche as b e i n g the b u i l d i n g a n d the synagoge as b e i n g the c o m m u n i t y except w h e n d i s c u s s i n g the Essenes i n Palestine, w h e r e he u s e d synagoge to m e a n the meeting p l a c e . A  further theory  62  that attempts  to j u s t i f y  the t e r m i n o l o g y ,  argues that  the  differences between the t w o terms are based o n the functions evident i n the names. T h e proseuche, f r o m the v e r b " t o p r a y " , w a s a p r a y e r - h a l l , used i n the D i a s p o r a c o m m u n i t i e s to w o r s h i p through prayer, because they were too far f r o m the T e m p l e i n J e r u s a l e m to engage i n ritual. T h e synagoge, o n the other h a n d , f r o m the v e r b "to gather together", w a s s i m p l y a m e e t i n g p l a c e to deal w i t h c o m m u n i t y concerns and w e e k l y Sabbath observance f o r those near the T e m p l e . B e c a u s e those i n Palestine w e r e i n c l o s e p r o x i m i t y J e r u s a l e m , it is argued that there w a s n o need to engage i n p r a y e r .  63  to  S o m e have furthered  this argument to suggest that, i n fact, the proseuche d i d not prefigure the synagoge at a l l , but eventually d e v e l o p e d into a different institution altogether, the " h o u s e o f s t u d y . "  6 4  T h e a c c u r a c y o f this theory is c h a l l e n g e d , h o w e v e r , b y the existence o f the T e m p l e o f O n i a s i n L o w e r E g y p t . T h e r i v a l temple i n E g y p t w a s structured after the J e r u s a l e m one, a n d w a s capable o f f u l f i l l i n g the needs o f E g y p t i a n J e w i s h w o r s h i p p e r s , yet the t e r m proseuche was u s e d most p r o m i n e n t l y i n E g y p t .  6 5  M o r e scholars are b e g i n n i n g to believe that all o f the terms meant the same t h i n g . W h e t h e r the c o m m u n i t y used proseuche, synagoge, topos, or any n u m b e r o f other terms  Providence, 82. Lee I. Levine, "The Second Temple Synagogue: The Formative Years," in The Synagogue in Late Antiquity, 22. See Dan Urman, "The House of Assembly and the House of Study: Are They One and the Same?" in Urman and Flesher, Analysis and Discovery. Aryeh Kasher, "Synagogues as 'Houses of Prayer' and 'Holy Places' in the Jewish Communities of Hellenistic and Roman Egypt," in Urman and Flesher, Analysis and Discovery, 206. 6 2  6 3  6 4  6 5  19  w a s based o n the b u i l d i n g ' s s i g n i f i c a n c e to the c o m m u n i t y , not a set f u n c t i o n .  bb  It i s  thought that each early synagogue d e v e l o p e d w i t h i n its o w n c o m m u n i t y a n d w a s a reaction against the s u r r o u n d i n g c o m m u n i t y , not w i t h i n a g l o b a l J e w i s h f r a m e w o r k .  5.b. Archaeological: S u r p r i s i n g l y , m a n y examinations o f the synagogue d o not p r o v i d e a s p e c i f i c architectural d e f i n i t i o n f o r the s y n a g o g u e .  67  E v e n w h e n the architectural f o r m o f the  synagogue i s o u t l i n e d b y scholars, the d e f i n i t i o n either o n l y applies to p o s t - 7 0 C E synagogues, as it is based o n their use o f c o m m o n artistic m o t i f s l i k e the l u l a b , ethrog a n d shofar,  68  o r i s created b y e x a m i n i n g the a r c h a e o l o g i c a l e v i d e n c e f o r b u i l d i n g s currently  b e l i e v e d to be s y n a g o g u e s .  69  D e f i n i t i o n s are a p p l i e d o n a n ad hoc basis, d e p e n d i n g o n  whether the scholar wants to p r o v e o r d i s p r o v e the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f a b u i l d i n g as a synagogue. If  70  I a m to assess the f u n c t i o n s o f the synagogue that are i m p l i e d b y the  a r c h a e o l o g i c a l evidence, I m u s t therefore b e certain o f h o w to i d e n t i f y a b u i l d i n g as a S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue. I h a v e f o r m u l a t e d s i x c r i t e r i a f o r i d e n t i f y i n g b u i l d i n g s as synagogues. T h e first f o u r are the most c o n v i n c i n g , a n d n o b u i l d i n g i n this study w i l l b e  Binder, Temple Courts, 91; Peter Richardson, "Early Synagogues as Collegia in the Diaspora and Palestine," in Voluntary Associations in the Graeco-Roman World (eds. John S. Kloppenborg and Stephen G. Wilson; New York: Routledge, 1996), 94. Lee Levine's magnum opus, the 748 page The First Thousand Years never defines what is or is not a synagogue, for example; neither does all of Ancient Synagogues Revealed nor A.T. Kraabel, "Unity and Diversity Among Diaspora Synagogues," in Diaspora Jews and Judaism: Essays in Honor of, and in Dialogue with, A. Thomas Kraabel (eds. J. Andrew Overman and Robert S. MacLennan; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1992). For example, M. Chiat, Handbook of Synagogue Architecture, Brown Judaic Studies; no. 29 (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1982), 2. The process for the identification of synagogues tends to be quite circular. In the case of Masada, Herodium, and Gamla, for example, each building's architectural plan is used to prove the identity of the others. Binder also bases his definition on the archaeological evidence, Temple Courts, 88-89. His suggestion that synagogues can be identified by analogy with the Galilean-type model as a guide is badly outdated.  6 6  6 7  6 8  6 9  20  c o n s i d e r e d a synagogue unless a l l are present. A l l f o u r are attested o r i n f e r r e d f r o m S e c o n d T e m p l e literary evidence. T h e f i f t h is o n l y attested i n E g y p t , a n d m a y b e a r e g i o n a l characteristic. T h e last is o n l y attested i n later R a b b i n i c texts a n d m a y n o t represent a legitimate w a y to i d e n t i f y the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue.  5.b.i. Definite Identifiers: 1. Size: T h e size o f a b u i l d i n g is not often brought into its i d e n t i f i c a t i o n as a synagogue. Y e t the n o t i o n o f synagoge (to gather together), e s p e c i a l l y as a p p l i e d to a c o m m u n i t y , suggests that size m u s t p l a y some factor. T h e synagogue needed to b e b i g enough f o r the c o m m u n i t y to assemble. V a r i o u s texts r e c o r d that the c o m m u n i t y m e t i n the synagogue o n the S a b b a t h ,  71  to pass j u d g e m e n t s ,  72  a n d render p u n i s h m e n t .  73  U n f o r t u n a t e l y , there i s  n o direct e v i d e n c e f o r the necessary size o f a b u i l d i n g either f r o m S e c o n d T e m p l e o r R a b b i n i c texts. F o r the purposes o f this study, I w i l l assume that to b e a synagogue a b u i l d i n g m u s t b e larger than a regular house i n w h i c h e v e r t o w n it i s f o u n d .  2. Jewish Occupation: O n e m u s t i d e n t i f y a J e w i s h presence at a s p e c i f i c b u i l d i n g i n order to c l a s s i f y it as a S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue. In the D i a s p o r a , archaeologists generally d o not categorise a b u i l d i n g as a synagogue unless it has J e w i s h i n s c r i p t i o n s o r a r t .  74  J e w i s h art seems n o t  Chiat raised similar concerns about the cavalier identification of buildings as synagogues in "First Century Synagogue Architecture: Methodological Problems," in Gutmann, State of Research, 49-60. This is evident from the term, sabbateion preserved in an edict by Augustus (Ant. 16.162-165), also Philo, Embassy, 156 and Josephus, Ag. Ap., 2.175. Old Greek version of Sus 28. Mark 13.9/Matt 10:17/Luke 21:12. A.T. Kraabel, "The Diaspora Synagogue," 96.  7 0  7 1  7 2  7 3  7 4  21  to have developed into a distinctive f o r m at this early stage,  a n d so o n l y b u i l d i n g s that  c a n b e securely connected w i t h J e w s t h r o u g h e p i g r a p h i c evidence s h o u l d b e c o n s i d e r e d synagogues. C o n v e r s e l y , archaeologists i n Israel tend t o l a b e l a n y b u i l d i n g that c o u l d have h e l d a large group o f people a s y n a g o g u e .  76  A large b u i l d i n g w i t h seats i n a J e w i s h  context m a y not necessarily b e a synagogue, however. E s s e n t i a l l y , the question relates t o the b u i l d i n g ' s purpose. Proponents o f the theory that a l l c o m m u n i t y b u i l d i n g s i n J e w i s h t o w n s are synagogues assume that the synagogue w a s j u s t a large c o m m u n i t y b u i l d i n g . W a s a l o c a l c o u n c i l b u i l d i n g the same t h i n g as a synagogue? I w o u l d argue that some religious c o n n e c t i o n i s necessary.  3.  Seats: T h e gospel accounts, e p i g r a p h i c evidence, a n d S u s a n n a a l l point to the existence  o f seating i n early synagogues. T h e author o f M a t t h e w w r o t e that the scribes a n d Pharisees took the best seats i n the s y n a g o g u e s .  77  I n the O l d G r e e k v e r s i o n o f S u s a n n a ,  the elders a n d j u d g e s " s t o o d u p " t w i c e d u r i n g S u s a n n a ' s trial. A n i n s c r i p t i o n f r o m the first century B C E i n B e r e n i k e m i g h t also p o i n t to the existence o f s e a t i n g .  78  T h e term  u s e d f o r the b u i l d i n g i s "amphitheatrori". I f the term denotes a synagogue, as i s argued b e l o w , it l i k e l y reflects the seating arrangement s i m i l a r to a G r e e k bouleterion.  79  Ma'oz has identified the palm frond and rosette as specifically Jewish in this period. "The Synagogue at Gamla and the Typology of Second-Temple Synagogues," in Ancient Synagogues Revealed, 39. Neither of these symbols were new or particular to Jewish art, however. See Goodenough As J. Strange, "The Jewishness of [the Israeli synagogues] is given by their context, not by their building elements." "Ancient Texts, Archaeology as Text," in Kee and Cohick, Evolution of the Synagogue, 44. Matt 23:6. CJZC 70. See the discussion below (Chapter 2). LSJ, amphitheatron: a double theatre, amphitheatre, a space wholly surrounded by seats rising one behind another, so as to command a view of the whole arena. According to Duane Roller, most amphitheaters were temporary structures until after the time of Augustus. No stone amphitheaters were built outside of Italy until after the time of Caesar (The Bui/ding Program of Herod the Great [Berkeley: University of California, 1998], 83). 7 6  7 7  78  7 9  22  4. Available Water Source: A n u m b e r o f the sources suggest that S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogues were b u i l t close to water. I n A c t s , f o r e x a m p l e , P a u l w e n t to a riverside because h e k n e w that h e c o u l d f i n d the synagogue t h e r e .  80  Josephus quotes s i m i l a r evidence f r o m a n edict f r o m t h e  G r e e k city o f H a l i c a r n a s s u s : " a n d [the Jews] m a y b u i l d their places o f prayer near the sea, i n accordance w i t h their native c u s t o m . "  8 1  P h i l o m a y p r o v i d e some reason f o r this  practice i n h i s On God 7-9. P h i l o exhorts h i s audience not to enter the hiera u n c l e a n , b u t to w a s h i n the water first. B i n d e r suggested that hiera m a y refer t o s y n a g o g u e s . H i s 82  argument seems reasonable; the w o r d i s i n the p l u r a l a n d so is not l i k e l y referring to the Jerusalem T e m p l e . T h e passage i s n o t referring to pagan temples, as it i s a n exhortation to the J e w s n o t to act l i k e the pagans, b u t to cleanse themselves before entering the buildings.  5. b.ii. Possible Identifiers: 5. Surrounding structures or rooms: The  existence o f structures  papyrological  a n d epigraphic  surrounding  the synagogue i s o n l y  evidence f r o m E g y p t .  A l a n d survey  attested i n  from Arsinoe-  C r o c o d i l o p o l i s , w r i t t e n i n the early part o f the first century B C E , records a consecrated garden next to a proseuche*  A number  appended  the presence o f exedra?* a n d other  2  buildings,  revealing  o f inscriptions  also p r o v i d e e v i d e n c e f o r appurtenances  Acts 16:13: "On the Sabbath day we went outside the gate by theriver,where we supposed there was a place of prayer." ^«M4.258 Binder, Temple Courts, 369. CPJ 1.134. The proseuche covers 3 13/16* parmouths of land. According to Binder, that represents c. 10,427 m or over 2Vi acres. Temple Courts, 238. Horbury and Noy, Jewish Inscriptions, 28. 8 0  8 1  8 2  8 3  2  8 4  23  equivalent to temple storage c h a m b e r s .  85  N o evidence exists i n the literary r e c o r d f o r this  practice outside E g y p t , a n d so it is i m p o s s i b l e to k n o w h o w w i d e s p r e a d the use o f additional r o o m s w a s for the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue.  5. b.iii. Unlikely Identifiers: 6. Orientation: Orientation  towards  Jerusalem  seems  to  be  a  factor  in  later  synagogue  c o n s t r u c t i o n ; h o w e v e r , there is n o literary evidence f r o m the S e c o n d T e m p l e p e r i o d to support orientation  as an identifier.  R a b b i n i c evidence f r o m  Tosefta Megillah 4 . 2 2  suggests that, the T e m p l e , the synagogue entrance s h o u l d be b u i l t o n the east side o f the b u i l d i n g . Synagogues f r o m L a t e A n t i q u i t y seem to face towards J e r u s a l e m , h o w e v e r . L e v i n e has suggested that the increased s i g n i f i c a n c e o f orientation m a y relate to an increased sense o f r e l i g i o s i t y after the destruction o f the T e m p l e . H e therefore w a r n s against c o n s i d e r i n g orientation a factor i n S e c o n d T e m p l e s y n a g o g u e s .  8 5  8 6  86  Horbury and Noy, Jewish Inscriptions, 25. Levine, First Thousand Years, 181.  24  Chapter 2 - Literature  J e w i s h a n d C h r i s t i a n literature, p a p y r i , a n d e p i g r a p h i c evidence p r o v i d e a great deal o f i n f o r m a t i o n about the functions o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue. I w i l l analyse each text a n d then w i l l group s p e c i f i c synagogue references thematically to c o m e to s o m e c o n c l u s i o n s about the functions o f the synagogue i n the texts o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e p e r i o d . E a c h text w i l l b e e x a m i n e d i n terms o f f i v e categories: the author's b a c k g r o u n d , definite synagogue references, possible synagogue references, p r o b l e m s , a n d i m p l i c a t i o n s for the f u n c t i o n o f the synagogue. T h e literature o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e p e r i o d alludes to a n u m b e r o f synagogues throughout Palestine a n d the D i a s p o r a . F o r the sake o f brevity, I w i l l not catalogue a l l o f the references to S e c o n d T e m p l e s y n a g o g u e s .  87  M a n y o f the ancient sources p r o v i d e little  m o r e than a p a s s i n g m e n t i o n o f the existence o f a synagogue i n a certain place. T h e r e i s n o n e e d to discuss these passages, as I a m not t r y i n g to prove the g e o g r a p h i c a l spread o f the synagogue. S y n a g o g u e references w i l l b e d i s c u s s e d o n l y w h e n they p r o v i d e m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n than a s i m p l e m e n t i o n o f a synagogue. T o m a i n t a i n a transparent process, h o w e v e r , i n a footnote at the start o f each section, I w i l l p r o v i d e a l l o f the synagogue references i n each author's w o r k .  The ancient sources located synagogues in a wide range of areas of both Palestine and the Diaspora, including: Judaea, the Galilee, middle and lower Egypt, Cyrenaica, Syria, Asia, the Bosporan kingdom, Macedonia, and Italy. For a recent catalogue of all references to Second Temple synagogues, see Binder, Temple Courts.  25  I. Jewish Historical Evidence a. Josephus: 1. Historical Background: F l a v i u s Josephus has been c a l l e d " t h e single most important source f o r the h i s t o r y o f the J e w i s h people d u r i n g the first century C . E . "  8 9  T h o u g h h e d i d not go s o f a r as to  leave a detailed description o f the o r i g i n a n d f u n c t i o n o f the synagogue, J o s e p h u s ' w o r k is extremely u s e f u l to scholars o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue. J o s e p h u s ' references to synagogues m a y b e d i v i d e d into t w o m a i n categories. First, h e p r o v i d e s evidence o f synagogues a n d their functions throughout a l l o f h i s b o o k s . S e c o n d , Josephus records a series o f G r e c o - R o m a n edicts a n d letters b y E m p e r o r s , R o m a n magistrates, a n d G r e e k cities, p r i m a r i l y i n A s i a M i n o r , that o u t l i n e the J e w s ' legal rights i n the R o m a n w o r l d a n d cast some indirect light o n synagogues.  2. Definite Synagogue References: T h e f a m i l i a r i t y w i t h w h i c h Josephus refers to synagogue b u i l d i n g s suggests that the synagogue w a s already a w e l l - e s t a b l i s h e d institution d u r i n g h i s lifetime. In narrating h i s conduct i n the J e w i s h w a r , f o r instance, Josephus mentions a c i t y m e e t i n g that t o o k p l a c e i n a proseuche at T i b e r i a s . H e d e s c r i b e d the synagogue as a " h u g e b u i l d i n g , capable o f a c c o m m o d a t i n g a large c r o w d " ,  9 0  c l a i m i n g that the entire c o m m u n i t y o f T i b e r i a s f i t  Josephus has 21 references to synagogues and uses six different terms: synagoge: Ant. 14.235, 19.304, J.W. 2.285-305,7.43, and 2. 560;proseuche: Ant 14.256-258, Ag. Ap. 2.10, Life 277, 280, and 293; hiera: Ag. Ap. 1.209, J. W. 1.277, 4.408, 7.45 and 7.144; sabbateion: Ant 16.164; topos: Ant 14.235, 259-261, and 19.304-305; oikema: J. W. 2.128 and Life 211. Harold Attridge, "Josephus and His Works," in Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period (ed. Michael Stone; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984), 185. Vita, 302. Kee continues to challenge the reference to a building at Tiberias. His argument tends to cloud the issue rather than illuminate it. Kee disregards the word proseuche and instead focuses on the descriptor, oikema. He argues that, as oikema could mean "dwelling," "storehouse," or "brothel," the proseuche was not a purpose built structure, but rather one that was used for specific religious meetings. His argument seems absurd. Josephus uses oikema, a general word for a building, in his description of how big the specific building is ("Defining," Kee and Cohink, Evolution of the Synagogue, 13). 8 8  8 9  9 0  26  w i t h i n its w a l l s . E l s e w h e r e Josephus suggests that the boule o f T i b e r i a s w a s 6 0 0 p e o p l e ; the  proseuche w o u l d have been quite a large b u i l d i n g .  9 2  Josephus records a n u m b e r o f r e l i g i o u s functions o f the synagogue, i n c l u d i n g T o r a h r e a d i n g , meeting o n the S a b b a t h , a n d the education o f c h i l d r e n . Josephus suggests that the w e e k l y r e a d i n g o f the T o r a h w a s a practice w h i c h dated b a c k to M o s e s .  9 3  In  N i c o l a u s o f D a m a s c u s ' letter to A g r i p p a , c o m p l a i n i n g about the mistreatment o f J e w s i n A s i a M i n o r , Josephus records that the J e w s " g i v e every seventh day over to the study o f [their] customs a n d l a w " i n the s y n a g o g u e .  94  Josephus discusses the importance o f  e d u c a t i o n , w r i t i n g that " c h i l d r e n shall be taught to read a n d shall learn b o t h the l a w s a n d the deeds o f their f o r e f a t h e r s . "  95  T h e synagogue is a setting for this process too.  Josephus also relates a n u m b e r o f incidents that suggest that the synagogue w a s the f o c u s o f a n t i - J e w i s h v i o l e n c e i n the G r e e k cities. In his  Jewish War, f o r e x a m p l e , h e  describes the desecration o f the J e w i s h synagogue at C a e s a r e a d u r i n g a dispute about J e w i s h rights i n that c i t y (the G r e e k s s a c r i f i c e d a p i g e o n i n front o f the d o o r w a y ) .  96  The  i n c i d e n t i s so serious that Josephus suggests that the G r e e k attack o n the synagogue w a s one o f the causes o f the w a r . Josephus records a s i m i l a r i n c i d e n t at D o r a i n P h o e n i c i a . G r e e k youths brought an i m a g e o f C a e s a r into the synagogue. T h e governor, at the behest o f A g r i p p a , chastised the youths f o r c h a l l e n g i n g C l a u d i u s ' edicts that gave the J e w s the r i g h t o f i n v i o l a b i l i t y o f their synagogue. H e also d e n o u n c e d their i m p i e t y b o t h t o w a r d s the J e w s a n d Caesar. H i s edict, quoted i n Josephus, is telling:  J.W. 2.641. E.P. Sanders, "Common Judaism and the Synagogue in the First Century," in JeM's, Christians and Polytheists in the Ancient Synagogue: Cultural Interaction during the Greco-Roman Period (ed. Steven Fine; New York: Routledge, 1999), 10. Ag.Ap. 2.175. Ant. 16.43. Ag.Ap. 2.204. 91  9 2  93  9 4  9 5  27  Y o u have thereby s i n n e d not o n l y against the l a w s o f the J e w s , b u t also against the emperor, w h o s e image w a s better p l a c e d i n h i s o w n shrine than i n that o f another, especially i n the s y n a g o g u e .  97  E v i d e n t l y the G r e e k c o m m u n i t y c o n s i d e r e d the synagogue a r e l i g i o u s f o c a l p o i n t o f the Jewish community. S c h o l a r s o f the synagogue have m i n e d J o s e p h u s ' c o l l e c t i o n o f edicts a n d inscriptions extensively f o r i n f o r m a t i o n about the rights a n d practices o f J e w s i n the synagogues o f the R o m a n w o r l d . T h e c o l l e c t i o n consists o f thirty documents f r o m Jewish Antiquities chapters 14 a n d 16 that represent the b u l k o f our i n f o r m a t i o n about the legal status o f J e w i s h c o m m u n i t i e s w i t h i n the R o m a n w o r l d . It i s a m i x t u r e o f complete a n d fragmentary documents, some w i t h v e r y little c o r r u p t i o n a n d others w i t h a n u m b e r o f errors. C o r r u p t i o n i n the edicts seems to correlate w i t h their date o f issue. T h e decrees f r o m the t i m e o f J u l i u s Caesar have m a n y m o r e errors a n d are m o r e fragmentary than those f r o m the time o f C l a u d i u s .  9 8  I n sections 14.190 to 14.216 o f the Jewish Antiquities,  Josephus set out a series o f edicts m a d e b y J u l i u s Caesar. T h e edicts are f o l l o w e d b y a series o f decrees m a d e b y the R o m a n Senate a n d other o f f i c i a l s c o n f i r m i n g the rights o f the J e w s to assemble a n d not to be l i a b l e f o r m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e .  99  Josephus then p r o v i d e s a  series o f edicts c o n f i r m i n g the rights o f J e w s i n v a r i o u s c o m m u n i t i e s i n the D i a s p o r a .  1 0 0  Further support f o r D i a s p o r a J e w s f r o m M a r k A n t o n y , A g r i p p a , A u g u s t u s , a n d other R o m a n dignitaries f o l l o w s .  1 0 1  J. W. 7.285-292. Ant. 19.305. M. Pucci Ben-Zeev, Jewish Rights in the Roman World (Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1999), 360. Ant. 14.219-230. Ant. 14.231-265. Antony: 14.306-323; Agrippa: 16.58-60, 167-171; Augustus: 16.162-166; and Roman dignitaries: 16.172-173.  9 6 97  9 8  99  100  1 0 1  28  T h o u g h n o t a l l o f the edicts are directly related to the synagogue, m a n y o f t h e rights that the documents outline either e x p l i c i t l y relate to actions that are undertaken w i t h i n t h e synagogue (e.g. the protection  o f sacred m o n i e s ) o r actions w h i c h are  associated w i t h the synagogue (e.g. the right o f the c o m m u n i t y to carry out j u d g e m e n t s ) . In h i s b o o k , Judaism: Practice and Belief, E . P . Sanders offers a v a l u a b l e list o f t h e ' r i g h t s ' i n c l u d e d i n the R o m a n edicts: 1.  T h e r i g h t to assemble o r to have a place o f assembly (14.214-16; 227; 235; 257; 260)  2.  T h e r i g h t to keep S a b b a t h (14.226, 242, 245, 258, 263)  3.  T h e r i g h t to have their 'ancestral f o o d ' (14.226, 2 4 5 , 2 6 1 )  4.  T h e r i g h t to decide their o w n affairs (14.235,260)  5.  T h e r i g h t to contribute m o n e y (14.214, 2 2 7 ) 1 0 2  T h e rights o f s a c r i f i c e , i n v i o l a b i l i t y , a n d self-protection s h o u l d be added to S a n d e r s ' s list. T h e decree f r o m S a r d i s records that J e w s were g i v e n the right to s a c r i f i c e .  103  T h e right t o  s a c r i f i c e i s a s s u m e d to represent a m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f J e w i s h practice o n the part o f the authorities,  104  a n d m a y j u s t illustrate the fact that the J e w s were b e i n g g i v e n s i m i l a r rights  to those o f temples. M a n y o f the edicts i n c l u d e the protection o f sacred m o n e y a n d texts, m a k i n g interference w i t h t h e m s a c r i l e g i o u s .  105  T h e decree f r o m E p h e s u s suggests that the  J e w s h a d t h e a b i l i t y to p u n i s h w r o n g d o e r s outside o f the J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y . T h o s e caught r o b b i n g the synagogue w e r e to b e h a n d e d over to the J e w s themselves rather than to the R o m a n authorities, as h a p p e n e d e l s e w h e r e .  106  E.P. Sanders, Judaism: Practice and Belief 63 BCE-66 CE (Philadelphia: Trinity, 1992), 212. Ant. 14.260. See comments in Binder, Temple Courts, 283; Sanders, "Synagogue," 7. The general edict of Augustus, for example (Ant. 16.164). Ant. 16.168.  29  3.  Possible Synagogue References: T h e synagogue as the centre o f hostility m a y b e i n f e r r e d as w e l l f r o m J o s e p h u s '  d e s c r i p t i o n o f T i t u s ' t r i u m p h . Josephus describes a n u m b e r o f b u r n i n g hiera i n c l u d e d i n the re-enactment  o f victories.  107  B i n d e r has suggested that these m i g h t have been  intended to represent s y n a g o g u e s .  108  T h e R o m a n s m a y have c o n s i d e r e d each b u r n i n g  synagogue as representing a J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y c o n q u e r e d b y their forces. 4.  Problems: T h e edicts are important to the d i s c u s s i o n o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue  functions. N o t o n l y d o they p r o v i d e i n f o r m a t i o n about the extent o f the p o w e r s o f the synagogues w i t h i n the R o m a n w o r l d ,  b u t they  also suggest some o f the actions  undertaken i n them. F r o m these documents it is p o s s i b l e to get a sense o f w h a t the J e w s i n the D i a s p o r a c o m m u n i t i e s were d o i n g i n the synagogues. R o m a n decrees were not u n i v e r s a l i n the w a y that l a w s are today. R o m a n l a w s were ad hoc a n d l o c a l i s e d a n d w e r e p r i m a r i l y responses to s p e c i f i c requests o r p r o b l e m s . T h o u g h a f e w o f the edicts r e c o r d e d here are generalised, most relate to s p e c i f i c c i t i e s . T h e l a w s l i k e l y reflected l o c a l n o r m s rather than E m p i r e - w i d e p r a c t i c e .  110  1 0 9  T h a t s a i d , the  reaction o f the citizens o f A n t i o c h s h o w e d that they felt the R o m a n edict d i d have some force. Josephus reports that the A n t i o c h e n e s petitioned T i t u s to expel the J e w s f r o m Antioch.  1 1 1  A f t e r T i t u s refused, they a s k e d h i m to r e m o v e the tablets w h i c h r e c o r d e d the  J.W. 7.144. Binder, Temple Courts, 155. Levine also suggests that occasionally Josephus used hiera as a designation for the synagogue ("Second Temple Synagogue," 13). Rajak, "Jewish Rights," 23. Rajak goes on to argue that none of the grants should be seen as 'rights', but rather as verbal gestures of goodwill towards the Jews. The Hellenistic cities were largely independent, and Roman laws would not have had a great deal of effect on them. The difference in the legal rights of the Jews throughout the Empire may be reflected in the different terms used to define the Jews within the cities. Levine, First Thousand Years, 106. J.W. 7.100-101. 107  1 0 8  1 0 9  1 1 0  111  30  rights o f the J e w s at A n t i o c h .  1 1 2  T h u s , the presence o f the tablets i n some w a y v a l i d a t e d  J e w i s h rights. T h e r e l i a b i l i t y o f the evidence is o f p r i m a r y c o n c e r n . T w o possibilities n e e d to b e e x a m i n e d before the i n f o r m a t i o n f r o m the R o m a n documents c a n b e c o n f i d e n t l y u s e d : w a s the m a t e r i a l a pure f a b r i c a t i o n b y Josephus a n d i f not, h o w trustworthy w e r e h i s sources. T h e documents are u n l i k e l y to b e forgeries b y Josephus. Josephus w o u l d n o t l i k e l y f a l s i f y h i s evidence w h e n h i s w o r k w o u l d be scrutinised b y h i s m a n y c r i t i c s .  1 1 3  B e f o r e l i s t i n g the v a r i o u s decrees, Josephus j u s t i f i e s h i s use o f the R o m a n edicts b y writing, S i n c e m a n y persons, h o w e v e r , out o f enmity to us refuse to believe w h a t has been w r i t t e n about us b y P e r s i a n s a n d M a c e d o n i a n s because these w r i t i n g s are n o t f o u n d everywhere a n d are not deposited even i n p u b l i c places but are f o u n d o n l y a m o n g us a n d some other b a r b a r i c peoples, w h i l e against the decrees o f the R o m a n s n o t h i n g c a n b e s a i d - f o r they are kept i n the p u b l i c places o f the cities a n d are still to b e f o u n d engraved o n b r o n z e tablets i n the c a p i t a l . . . 1 1 4  H e w o u l d h a r d l y have w a n t e d to u n d e r m i n e h i s c l a i m s b y f a l s i f y i n g h i s i n f o r m a t i o n . P u c c i B e n - Z e e v e x a m i n e d the documents f o r their authenticity a n d their use o f source materials. S h e f o u n d that the complete documents c o m p a r e f a v o u r a b l y w i t h other extant documents f r o m the p e r i o d .  1 1 5  S h e points out that m a n y o f the mistakes c o u l d have been  s c r i b a l errors through t r a n s m i s s i o n o f the documents to A s i a M i n o r .  1 1 6  Further, J o s e p h u s '  l a c k o f control over the material suggests that h e d i d not forge the edicts. Josephus m a y  J.W. 109-111. Josephus' later books provide no evidence that the documents were challenged for their authenticity. Though an argument from silence, Josephus' lack of selfjustification is in direct contrast with his need to defend many of his other claims, notably his wartime conduct. Ant. 14.187-188. Pucci Ben-Zeev, Jewish Rights, 357. See also T. Rajak, "Was there a Roman Charter for the Jews?" JRS 74(1984): 109. Pucci Ben-Zeev, Jewish Rights, 359-361. She goes on to provide an excellent assessment of scribal errors found in extant Roman legal documents. Many of the same type errors appear in the extant copies of 112  1 1 3  114  1 1 5  1 1 6  31  not have even read a l l o f the material i n the documents. H e offers n o explanation o f the reference to s a c r i f i c e at S a r d i s , f o r e x a m p l e . J o s e p h u s ' i n t r o d u c t i o n to a document a n d w h a t the document says are often unconnected. F o r e x a m p l e , Josephus mentions the letter f r o m C l a u d i u s to the A l e x a n d r i a n J e w s i n h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n , b u t then quotes C l a u d i u s ' edict released eight months b e f o r e .  117  A n e x a m i n a t i o n o f the nature o f J o s e p h u s ' sources is essential. V a r i o u s scholars have o f f e r e d theories about w h e r e Josephus f o u n d h i s material. S o m e posit a literary 110  source: N i c o l a u s o f D a m a s c u s , the c o l l e c t i o n m a d e f o r A g r i p p a I  or made b y P h i l o and  taken to G a i u s , o r else that Josephus accessed R o m a n o r J e w i s h archives to f i n d the material.  119  A f t e r e x a m i n i n g the p o s s i b i l i t i e s , P u c c i B e n - Z e e v p l a u s i b l y suggests that h e  u s e d a literary c o l l e c t i o n o f j u r i d i c a l material l i k e l y c o l l e c t e d a n d kept b y J e w s i n A s i a M i n o r . M o s t o f the documents relate to A s i a M i n o r . Further, i f the documents w e r e i n a fragmentary f o r m w h e n Josephus r e c e i v e d t h e m , h i s i n a b i l i t y to p l a c e the documents i n a proper c h r o n o l o g i c a l order w o u l d m a k e m o r e s e n s e .  1 2 0  5. Implications for the Function of the Synagogue: J o s e p h u s ' references to the synagogue suggest that it served t w o distinct purposes: as the centre o f regular r e l i g i o u s observance a n d the f o c a l p o i n t o f the J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y . A c c o r d i n g to h i s accounts, J e w s w e n t to the synagogue each Sabbath to read a n d study Roman documents: misspelled names, wrong numbers and dates, and even the misidentification of an Asian city, 362-365. Pucci Ben-Zeev, Jewish Rights, 371. These views are summarized and dismissed by Pucci Ben-Zeev, Jewish Rights, 392. Nicolaus of Damascus: According to Pucci Ben-Zeev, since the late nineteenth century the majority of scholars have considered Nicolaus the source of the edicts (Jewish Rights, 388). Recent examples include Rajak, "Roman Charter," and M. Stern, GLAJJ; Philo: suggested by D.R. Schwartz in Agrippa I: The Last King ofJudaea. (Tubingen: J.C.B. Mohr & Siebeck, 1990), 30-31; Roman archives: Rajak argues for this possibility in "Jewish Rights in the Greek Cities under Roman Rule: A New Approach to Ancient Judaism," in Studies in Judaism and Its Greco-Roman Context, V (ed. W.S. Green; Atlanta: Scholars, 1985). 33; Jewish archives: Schurer, History, 52. Pucci Ben Zeev, Jewish Rights, 394. 1 1 7  1 1 8  1 1 9  1 2 0  32  the T o r a h . T h o u g h Josephus does not say so e x p l i c i t l y , synagogues were also l i k e l y u s e d as the repository f o r the temple tax, as a n u m b e r o f edicts r e c o r d that J e w s c o u l d collect a n d store m o n e y  i n the synagogue w i t h o u t interference.  F i n a l l y , Josephus stressed  e d u c a t i o n ( p o s s i b l y i n the synagogue) so that a l l J e w s w o u l d be able to read the T o r a h . J o s e p h u s ' w o r k s also suggest that the synagogue w a s the f o c a l p o i n t o f the J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y . H e describes important t o w n meetings t a k i n g p l a c e i n the synagogue, s u c h as the e x a m p l e f r o m T i b e r i a s . T h e synagogue also appears as the centre for G r e e k h o s t i l i t y towards the J e w s . Josephus records t w o s p e c i f i c incidences w h e r e the G r e e k s attacked the synagogue because o f their anger towards the c o m m u n i t y as a w h o l e ,  b. Philo: 1.  121  Historical Background: P h i l o o f A l e x a n d r i a is another extremely important source for the study o f the  S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue. In h i s w o r k s  he mentions  synagogues i n R o m e , A s i a ,  Palestine, throughout E g y p t a n d L i b y a , a n d i n every section o f A l e x a n d r i a . m a d e reference Therapeutae}  23  to v a r i o u s  D i a s p o r a synagogues, i n c l u d i n g  the  H e also  synagogues o f  the  T h e w o r k s that p r o v i d e the most i n f o r m a t i o n about the synagogue are h i s  m o r e h i s t o r i c a l Against Flaccus  a n d On the Embassy to Gains. T h e t w o w o r k s recount  the clashes between the J e w s a n d the G r e e k s i n A l e x a n d r i a i n 38 C E a n d P h i l o ' s subsequent leadership o f the J e w i s h delegation to G a i u s i n R o m e . T h e t w o b o o k s s h o u l d  Philo makes thirty references to synagogues using the terms: synagoge: Good Person, 81; proseuche: nineteen times including: Alleg. Interp. 1.55, Flaccus, 45-47; prosekterion: Moses, 2.215; synagogion: Dreams, 2.127; hieron: Spec. Laws, 3.171, Unchangeable, 7-8.; hierosperibolos: Flaccus, 48; didaskaleion: Spec. Laws, 2.61-62, Moses, 2.214-216, God, 40, Rewards, 66; topos: Good Person, 81; semneion: Contempt Life, 32-33 (Therapeutae). Flaccus, 45. Providence, 80-83. 1 2 1  122  123  33  not be v i e w e d as purely h i s t o r i c a l documents, h o w e v e r , but rather as a " h i s t o r i c a l l y b a s e d theology."  2.  124  Definite Synagogue References: P h i l o c o n s i d e r e d that assembly i n the synagogue o n the S a b b a t h to read a n d  e x p o u n d u p o n the b i b l i c a l texts w a s a central characteristic o f the J e w i s h p e o p l e .  1 2 5  A  n u m b e r o f examples support this contention: A n d w i l l y o u sit i n y o u r synagogues a n d . . . read i n security i n y o u r h o l y b o o k s e x p o u n d i n g any obscure p o i n t a n d i n leisurely c o m f o r t d i s c u s s i n g at length y o u r ancestral p h i l o s o p h y ?  1 2 6  [ M o s e s ] r e q u i r e d them t o assemble i n the same place o n these seventh days a n d , sitting together i n a respectful a n d o r d e r l y manner, hear the l a w s read so that none s h o u l d be ignorant o f t h e m .  1 2 7  P h i l o also c o m m e n t s o n the practice o f S a b b a t h meetings i n the synagogue i n reference t o synagogues outside E g y p t . I n h i s d i s c u s s i o n o f the synagogues i n R o m e , f o r instance, P h i l o states that R o m a n J e w s met regularly i n their synagogues o n the S a b b a t h to study their "ancestral p h i l o s o p h y . "  1 2 8  T e a c h i n g i n the synagogue i s another important feature i n P h i l o ' s accounts. It i s even evident i n P h i l o ' s use o f the t e r m didaskaleion five times to m e a n the synagogue. I n h i s On the Special Laws, P h i l o c l a i m e d , " w h a t are our places o f prayer throughout the cities but s c h o o l s o f prudence a n d courage , . . "  1 2 9  E l s e w h e r e he wrote, " S o e a c h seventh  day there stand w i d e open i n every c i t y thousands o f schools o f g o o d sense... "  1 3  °  Peter Borgen, "Philo of Alexandria," in Stone, Jewish Writings, 251. Borgen, "Philo," 251. Dreams, 2.127. Hypothetica, 7.12 Embassy, 156. Moses, 2.216. Spec. Laws, 2.62.  34  In his account of the riots in 38 C E from Against Flaccus and On the Embassy to Gains, Philo describes the Greek mobs' attacks on the Jewish community through their attack on the synagogues. Gathering together great hordes of men, they (the Greeks of Alexandria) attacked the prayer-houses, of which there are many in every section of the city. Some they vandalised, others they totally destroyed by torching and burning them to the ground, in their fury and mindless frenzy paying no heed at all to the nearby houses, for nothing is faster than fire once it fastens on timber. I say nothing about the simultaneous destruction and burning of objects set up to honour the Emperors - shields and gilded crowns and stelai and dedicatory inscriptions, consideration for which should have made them spare the rest. 131  Philo is very interested in presenting dedications to benefactors in the proseuche, especially to the Emperors, as an essential part of the synagogue's function. The synagogue as a site for dedication is also evident in Against Flaccus, where Philo writes, [The Jews] are the only people under the sun who by losing their meeting-houses were losing also what they would have valued as worth dying many thousand deaths, namely, their means of showing reverence to their benefactors, since they no longer had the sacred buildings where they could set forth their thankfulness. 132  A few lines later, Philo refers to the Jewish practice of dedication in Ptolemaic times, claiming that the Egyptian Jews never set up statues to the rulers because they wanted to "(pay) court to the good fortunes of rulers (rather) than to the rulers themselves."  133  Philo  states that the dedications in the synagogue are the only way in which Jews can legally recognise the Emperors:  134  for paying this homage."  131  132 133  1 3 4 135  "if we have these destroyed no place, no method is left to us  135  Embassy, 132-3. Flaccus, 48. Embassy, 140. The epigraphic evidence from Ptolemaic Egypt (see below) substantiates his arguments. Jewish law, of course. Flaccus, 49.  35  3. Possible Synagogue References: N o n e o f P h i l o ' s references to synagogues are p a r t i c u l a r l y contested, except b y Kee  a n d H o r s l e y o n the grounds  synagogue  136  that the t e r m proseuche does not refer  to the  .  4. Problems: In terms o f the m a j o r literary sources f o r this study, P h i l o i s the o n l y author w h o s e w o r k l a y entirely w i t h i n the S e c o n d T e m p l e p e r i o d . T h e r e f o r e , P h i l o ' s w r i t i n g s cannot b e challenged as b e i n g anachronistic. It m a y b e , h o w e v e r , that h i s discussions o f synagogues outside E g y p t  were  c o l o u r e d b y h i s l o c a l situation. H i s w o r k p r o v i d e s the o n l y evidence f o r the f u n c t i o n o f synagogues i n R o m e , a n d it m a y b e that the functions are projections o f A l e x a n d r i a n practices instead o f R o m a n ones.  5. Implications for the Function of the Synagogue: P h i l o ' s writings  suggest that the synagogue w a s the p r e m i e r  institution o f  E g y p t i a n J u d a i s m . H e describes their r i c h decorations a n d the l o n g established p r a c t i c e (even b y h i s time) o f dedicating the synagogues to the l o c a l rulers. H e reports that synagogues were f o u n d throughout E g y p t a n d i n a l l areas o f A l e x a n d r i a . Further, it m a y be that P h i l o is suggesting that synagogues were equivalent to the G r e e k gymnasia, as they p r o v i d e d a l o c a t i o n to teach a n d discuss " a n c e s t r a l p h i l o s o p h y . " T h e centrality o f the synagogues to the J e w s i s also evident i n the G r e e k attacks. P h i l o reports that the G r e e k s o f A l e x a n d r i a were f i x a t e d o n the destruction o f synagogues.  For example, Kee, "Transformation," 22.  36  II. Jewish Apocrypha a. Susanna: 1. Historical Background: T h e a p o c r y p h a l b o o k S u s a n n a m a y represent a p i v o t a l p o i n t i n the development o f the synagogue. In the L X X , the c o m m u n i t y i s s a i d to gather i n S u s a n n a ' s h u s b a n d ' s house routinely, because he is richest m a n i n the t o w n , a n d has the most s p a c e .  2.  1 3 7  Definite Synagogue References: T h e earlier O l d G r e e k v e r s i o n o f the text, c o m m o n l y dated between the late  s e c o n d a n d early first centuries C E ,  1 3 8  differs as to the p l a c e o f j u d g e m e n t . Instead o f  m e e t i n g i n S u s a n n a ' s h u s b a n d ' s house, the c o m m u n i t y i s c a l l e d to j u d g e S u s a n n a i n the synagoge, w h e r e the j u d g e s l i v e d .  Old Greek: T h e y c a m e to the synagogue o f the city w h e r e they sojourned, a n d a l l the Israelites w h o w e r e there a s s e m b l e d .  139  LXX: T h e next d a y , w h e n the people c a m e to h e r h u s b a n d , J o a k i m , the t w o elders came... 1 4 0  3.  Possible Synagogue References: N o t applicable.  4. Problems: N o t applicable.  The reference to the garden next to the house provides an interesting parallel with the reference to the sacred garden or grove attested in a second-century BCE papyrus from Egypt (CPJ 1.129). John Collins, Daniel: A Commentary on the Book of Daniel (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993), 8. Binder also notes that the Old Greek version is the earliest use of the term synagoge to indicate a building. Binder, Temple Courts, 93. Sus 28 (Old Greek Version); Collins, Daniel. Sus 28 (LXX); Collins, Daniel. 1 3 7  1 3 8  1 3 9 1 4 0  37  5.  Implications for the Function of the Synagogue: The  development  o f the synagogue  from  house meetings  to purpose-built  structures has l o n g been postulated, a n d S u s a n n a m a y o f f e r a n early e x a m p l e o f that practice d e v e l o p i n g , b. Third Maccabees: 1.  Historical Background: T h e a p o c r y p h a l story relates the persecution a n d ultimate r e d e m p t i o n o f the J e w s  b y P t o l e m y I V Philopater. 2.  Definite Synagogue References: T h i r d M a c c a b e e s p r o v i d e s another i n c i d e n t a l m e n t i o n o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e  synagogue. A f t e r the J e w s w e r e freed b y P t o l e m y , they dedicated a proseuche celebrate their f r e e d o m . 3.  to  141  Possible Synagogue References: T h e first m e n t i o n o f synagogues i n the document i s taken f r o m the k i n g ' s  p r o c l a m a t i o n against t h e J e w s , w h e r e h e f o r b i d s t h e m f r o m entering their  temples  (hiera).  142  4. Problems: N o t applicable. 5.  Implications for the Function of the Synagogue: Third  Maccabees provides both  direct  a n d indirect  evidence o f synagogue  f u n c t i o n . I n the definite synagogue reference, the synagogue i s u s e d t o a c k n o w l e d g e the support o f benefactors. P h i l o suggested that i n A l e x a n d r i a o n e o f the m a i n functions o f  141 1 4 2  3 Mace 7:20. See Binder, for the argument that the "holy places" are synagogues (Temple Courts, 46).  38  the synagogue w a s to p r o v i d e a place f o r dedications to the l o c a l rulers. H e r e , that practice i s d i s c u s s e d i n terms o f the J e w s d e d i c a t i n g a b u i l d i n g as thanks f o r their o w n g o o d fortune. Indirectly, T h i r d M a c c a b e e s suggests that the synagogue f u n c t i o n e d as the centre o f the c o m m u n i t y . A s i n P h i l o a n d Josephus, a n t i - J e w i s h sentiment i n T h i r d M a c c a b e e s i s expressed b y destruction o f synagogues. T h e i m p l i c a t i o n i s that, through the c l o s i n g o f hiera, P t o l e m y w a s l i m i t i n g the p o w e r a n d spread o f the J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y .  III. New Testament Evidence a. Paul 1. Historical Background: P a u l m a k e s little reference to the synagogue. H o w e v e r , g i v e n the nature o f h i s letters, P a u l h a d little need to discuss concerns w i t h the J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y . P a u l ' s intent w a s to address the p r o b l e m s w i t h i n the nascent C h r i s t i a n c o m m u n i t i e s .  143  2. Definite Synagogue References: P a u l ' s letters p r o v i d e n o definite synagogue references.  3. Possible Synagogue References: P a u l o n l y mentions synagogues peripherally. I n h i s account o f h i s sufferings f o r C h r i s t , P a u l relates that: F i v e times I have r e c e i v e d f r o m the J e w s the forty lashes m i n u s one. T h r e e times I w a s beaten w i t h rods. O n c e I r e c e i v e d a s t o n i n g .  1 4 4  T h e m a x i m u m p u n i s h m e n t mandated b y D e u t e r o n o m y w a s forty stripes: " F o r t y lashes m a y b e g i v e n but not m o r e . "  1 4 3  Binder, Temple Courts, 64.  144  2 Cor 11.24-25. Deut 25.3.  145  1 4 5  A c c o r d i n g to C . K . Barrett, b y the first century the  39  interpretation o f the passage seems to have shifted to m e a n forty lashes m i n u s one.  In  J o s e p h u s ' d i s c u s s i o n o f J e w i s h l a w , h e writes, " l e t h i m b e beaten w i t h f o r t y stripes save one."  1 4 7  S i m i l a r l y , the M i s h n a h records: " h o w m a n y stripes d o they i n f l i c t o n a m a n ?  Forty less one, as it i s s a i d , by number, forty - a n u m b e r near to f o r t y . "  The Rabbis do  not say that the punishment t o o k place i n the synagogue, b u t that p o s s i b i l i t y i s l i k e l y , g i v e n the references to s c o u r g i n g i n the synagogues f o u n d i n the gospel accounts.  4. Problems: Paul's  account never e x p l i c i t l y  suggests that h i s beating t o o k p l a c e i n the  synagogue.  5. Implications for the Function of the Synagogue: I f P a u l ' s punishment took place i n the synagogue, this passage p r o v i d e s e v i d e n c e o f the J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y  c a r r y i n g out legal j u d g e m e n t s  d u r i n g the R o m a n p e r i o d .  T h o u g h the evidence f o u n d i n the edicts preserved b y Josephus a n d the accounts o f S u s a n n a suggest that c o m m u n i t y j u d g e m e n t o c c u r r e d , P a u l ' s account m a y b e the o n l y direct evidence o f J e w s d e c i d i n g their o w n affairs,  b. Synoptic Gospels: 1. Historical Background: T h e synoptic  gospels seem to p r o v i d e  a great  deal o f evidence about t h e  synagogue. T h o u g h they have been somewhat neglected b y scholars o f the synagogue, the gospel accounts contain references to synagogue functions w i t h i n the smaller J e w i s h c o m m u n i t i e s o f Palestine.  C.K Barrett, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1968), 296. Ant. 4.238, 248. Mak. iii. 10. Philip Blackman, trans, and ed., Mishnayoth (Gateshead: Judaica, 1983).  40  2.  Definite Synagogue References: T h e gospel materials  provide  some i d e a o f the c o m m u n i t y  function o f the  synagogue i n Palestine before the destruction o f the T e m p l e . T h e gospels present quite a n i n f o r m a t i v e picture o f the role o f the l o c a l synagogue i n those c o m m u n i t i e s . E v e r y p l a c e that Jesus v i s i t e d h a d synagogues where the l o c a l people met o n the S a b b a t h . a n d d i s c u s s i o n o f T o r a h a n d the P r o p h e t s not u n c o m m o n e v e n t s .  151  1 5 0  1 4 9  Reading  a n d Jesus' h e a l i n g a n d m i r a c l e w o r k i n g w e r e  Further, Jesus taught i n the synagogue u n o p p o s e d ;  1 5 2  w h i l e the  l o c a l p o p u l a c e challenged h i m f o r h i s v i e w s , they r e m a i n e d u n c r i t i c a l o f h i s teaching a n d healing. T h e synagogue i n the gospels w a s also a place f o r p a s s i n g a n d c a r r y i n g out judgements. In Jesus' c o m m i s s i o n to h i s d i s c i p l e s h e w a r n s t h e m that their detractors w i l l " h a n d y o u over to c o u n c i l s a n d f l o g y o u i n their s y n a g o g u e s . "  153  L u k e also p r o v i d e s  e v i d e n c e o f synagogue donation. L u k e records that a centurion at C a p e r n a u m b u i l t the l o c a l synagogue f o r the p e o p l e .  154  Further, M a t t h e w provides the earliest m e n t i o n o f the  "seat o f M o s e s " , w h i c h i s f o u n d i n the archaeological r e c o r d o f later p e r i o d s . describes  the synagogues  as h a v i n g  benches.  156  A l l o f the gospels  155  H e also  mention  the  archisynagogos, the h e a d o f the synagogue - someone, i n c i d e n t a l l y , w h o i s n o t equated w i t h the scribes o r the Pharisees.  Capernaum (Mark 1:21); Nazareth (Mark 6:2), Galilee in general (Mark 1:39). Luke 4:16. Schrage, "synagoge" 830; Levine, First Thousand Years, 44. Matt 4:23, Mark 1:21-28, 6:1-6, Luke 6:6. See the discussion of teaching below. Matt 10:17-18, Mark 13:9, Luke 21:12, 12:11. The council/synagogue distinction may reflect a further differentiation between the community (here the council) and the building where the community meets, the synagogue. Luke 7: 4-5. W.D. Davies and D. Allison suggest that "seat of Moses" may have developed out of Moses' teaching role and either represent an actual chair or a metaphoric "chair" (university type). Commentary on Matthew III (3 Vols.; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1997), 268. Matt 23:2, 6. 1 4 9  1 5 0  1 5 1  1 5 2  1 5 3  1 5 4  1 5 5  1 5 6  41  3. Possible Synagogue References: T h e gospels refer to a l m s g i v i n g i n the synagogue as w e l l as p r a y i n g .  1 5 7  It i s  unclear, h o w e v e r , i f either action is r e q u i r e d to take p l a c e there.  4. Problems: T h e tendency i n synagogue research has been to treat the gospel materials w i t h a great deal o f r e s t r a i n t .  158  Fears o f a n a c h r o n i s m a n d p r o j e c t i o n are c o m m o n . M o s t centre  o n the c l a i m that the s y n o p t i c gospel writers reflect the late first century D i a s p o r a m o r e than early first century G a l i l e e . T h e terms u s e d to describe the synagogue are often open to interpretation, a n d there are those scholars, notably K e e a n d H o r s l e y , w h o exploit the ambiguity  o f the terms to challenge the existence o f a S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue  b u i l d i n g . T h e y argue that the usage o f the term, synagoge, i n the gospels denotes the community  only.  1 5 9  Their  argument  cannot  be maintained,  however,  even  i f the  d i s c u s s i o n is o n l y restricted to the internal evidence f r o m the gospels. In M a t t h e w 2 3 : 6 , Jesus challenges the scribes a n d the Pharisees s a y i n g , " t h e y l o v e to have the place o f h o n o u r at banquets a n d the best seats i n the s y n a g o g u e s . " M a t t h e w i s , w i t h o u t a doubt, d e s c r i b i n g a b u i l d i n g , a n d i n d e e d H o r s l e y is f o r c e d to argue ad absurdum i n order to p r o v e that the " s e a t s " are not f r o m a b u i l d i n g .  1 6 0  Almsgiving: Matt 6:2; praying: Matt 6:5. First put forward by Kee, in "Transformation," and continued in a number of articles up to his most recent in Kee and Cohick, Evolution of the Synagogue. Kee was followed by R. Horsley in Galilee. For the many challenges to Kee and Horsley, see R. Oster, "Supposed Anachronism in Luke-Acts use of SYNAGOGE: A Rejoinder to H.C. Kee, NTS 39 (1993): 178-208. In Kee's latest article, for example, he acts as if the term synagoge and proseuche have been proven to represent different buildings ("Defining the First Century Synagogue: Problems and Progress," Kee and Cohink, Evolution of the Synagogue, 11). See the above footnote (72) for a more thorough discussion of the problems with Horsley and Kee. See for example Horsley's latest addition to his synagogue rejection, "Synagogues in Galilee and the Gospels," in Kee and Cohick, Evolution of the Synagogue, 53, where he argues that the Pharisees would claim the best seats in the "public scenes and occasions". He does not explain where the seats in the "public scenes" would have been. 1 5 8  1 5 9  1 6 0  42  T h e r e l i a b i l i t y o f the gospels is a central issue.  A g r o w i n g n u m b e r o f scholars  s u c h as M a r t i n H e n g e l have p l a c e d greater c o n f i d e n c e i n the evidence o f the s y n o p t i c gospels. H e has repeatedly p o i n t e d to the fact that w e have the benefit o f m a p s , histories, a n d a g o o d deal o f other m a t e r i a l that w o u l d not have been available to the early C h r i s t i a n writers.  H e h i g h l i g h t s the fact that scholars o f c l a s s i c a l literature are not so  c r i t i c a l o f their material a n d criticises N e w Testament scholars w h o w o u l d rather r e l y o n the statements o f C l a s s i c a l historians w r i t i n g i n a time a n d p l a c e far r e m o v e d f r o m the p e r i o d i n question, than consider the gospel evidence accurate. L e e L e v i n e also cautions against s u c h h y p e r c r i t i c i s m o f the N e w  Testament  sources. T h e N e w Testament writers are not so far r e m o v e d f r o m the t i m e p e r i o d i n question as to be totally m i s t a k e n , he s u g g e s t s .  163  T h o u g h I do not w a n t to enter the  debate o n the subject o f the authorship or m a k e u p o f the gospels (the  two-source  hypothesis, Q , et cetera), I do not t h i n k anyone doubts that the gospel writers h a d access to some earlier materials d u r i n g the g o s p e l s ' c o m p o s i t i o n .  1 6 4  T h e gospel accounts p r o v i d e  a u n i f i e d v i e w o f w h a t synagogue practice w a s l i k e . G i v e n that the D i a s p o r a synagogues are quite diverse i n their f o r m a n d f u n c t i o n , one w o u l d assume that, i f the writers w e r e reflecting  later D i a s p o r a practices, m a n y o f the synagogue practices i n the gospel  materials w o u l d reflect the diversity o f the D i a s p o r a .  1 6 5  Schrage notes that the synagogues are not likely editorial additions to the texts, as they are integral to the meaning of the various synagogue pericopae ("synagoge," 832). M. Hengel, "The Geography of Palestine in Acts," in The Book of Acts in Its Palestinian Setting (ed. Richard Bauckham; Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1995), 77. Levine, First Thousand Years, 44. Binder, Temple Courts, 68. Levine, First Thousand Years, 44. 1 6 1  1 6 2  1 6 3  1 6 4 1 6 5  43  5. Implications for the Function of the Synagogue: T h e evidence f r o m the s y n o p t i c gospels suggests that the synagogue w a s the f o c u s for the religious a n d s o c i a l needs o f the c o m m u n i t i e s o f first century Palestine. W e e k l y Sabbath meetings, the r e a d i n g o f the T o r a h a n d prophets, a n d sermons are c a s u a l l y presented as part o f the regular r e l i g i o u s observance o f the l o c a l c o m m u n i t i e s . H o w e v e r , synagogues are also represented as f i l l i n g the s o c i a l needs o f the c o m m u n i t y . Jesus i s presented as t r a v e l l i n g throughout the area t e a c h i n g i n the synagogues. O n e c a n i m a g i n e that this w o u l d have been a b i t l i k e a concert c o m i n g into t o w n . L o c a l c o m m u n i t i e s also seemed to b e able to pass j u d g e m e n t s i n their synagogues,  c. Acts: 1. Historical Background: A c t s appears to b e a n excellent source f o r the spread a n d f u n c t i o n synagogue i n the first c e n t u r y .  166  o f the  A c t s p r o v i d e s a total o f nineteen references and outlines  a n u m b e r o f s p e c i f i c incidents that take p l a c e i n the synagogue.  2. Definite Synagogue References: A c t s p r o v i d e s a g o o d deal o f i n f o r m a t i o n about the f u n c t i o n o f the synagogue. Sabbath w o r s h i p seems to b e the p r i m a r y t i m e o f assembly. I n each p l a c e that h e v i s i t s , P a u l is s a i d to p r e a c h o n every successive Sabbath. A f t e r P a u l ' s first s u c c e s s f u l lecture i n P e r g a , f o r e x a m p l e , the J e w s invite h i m to c o m e b a c k o n the next S a b b a t h to lecture again.  1 6 7  A s i n the gospel accounts, teaching i n the synagogue is presented as b e i n g a  As Schrage writes, "according to the depiction in Acts, synagogues were one of the most important factors in the history of primitive Christian missions" ("synagoge " 835). Acts 13:42. 1 6 7  44  regular part o f the Sabbath meeting. r e a d i n g o f the T o r a h 3.  1 6 9  Further, A c t s describes the S a b b a t h service:  a n d the Prophets, f o l l o w e d b y a congregational address.  Possible Synagogue References: N o n e o f the references i n A c t s i s questionable.  4. Problems: T h e m a n y challenges to the historicity o f A c t s have caused c o n c e r n f o r those e x a m i n i n g the S e c o n d T e m p l e s y n a g o g u e .  170  M u c h o f the d i s c u s s i o n o f the concerns  expressed about the s y n o p t i c gospels also applies to A c t s . H o w e v e r , it s h o u l d b e kept i n m i n d that the c o m m u n i t i e s that L u k e w a s w r i t i n g f o r were aware o f the situation i n the J e w i s h D i a s p o r a a n d w o u l d have r e c o g n i s e d serious f l a w s w i t h L u k e ' s a c c o u n t . d i d n o t l i k e l y engage i n a wholesale f a b r i c a t i o n o f evidence - the early  171  Luke  Christian  c o m m u n i t y w o u l d have w r i t t e n o f f h i s w o r k . A c t s w a s evidently  n o t c o n c e i v e d o f as a h i s t o r i c a l d o c u m e n t  account o f the m i s s i o n o f P a u l has a t h e o l o g i c a l b a s i s .  1 7 2  only.  Luke's  L u k e presents P a u l ' s m i s s i o n a r y  effort i n each o f the cities o f S y r i a , A s i a M i n o r , a n d G r e e c e i d e n t i c a l l y .  173  When Paul  enters a n e w t o w n , h e first goes t o the synagogue, preaches there, i s first accepted a n d then rejected b y the J e w s , b u t gains converts a m o n g the god-fearers a n d turns h i s b a c k o n the J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y .  1 7 4  T h e failure o f P a u l ' s m i s s i o n to the J e w s i n their synagogues,  c o u p l e d w i t h h i s successes a m o n g the gentiles, is essential to L u k e ' s description o f t h e spread o f early C h r i s t i a n i t y . L e v i n e best articulates A c t s ' t h e o l o g i c a l b i a s w h e n he w r i t e s ,  1 6 8  1 6 9  1 7 0 171  1 7 2  1 7 3 1 7 4  Acts 13:15. Acts 15:21 presents Torah reading in the synagogue as an activity which dates back to Moses. For a discussion of the historical problems of synagogues with Acts (see Binder, Temple Courts, 79-81). Levine, First Thousand Years, 108. Schrage, "synagoge," 835. Levine, First Thousand Years, 108. Acts 9:20-25, 13:14-49, 14:1-3, 17:1-9, 10-14, 18:1-8, 19:8-10.  45  This recurrent phenomenon goes to the heart of Acts' theological and political message. Paul is rebuffed time and time again by the Jews, and only then devotes himself fully and unequivocally to the gentile mission. 175  The thematic repetition of the Paul's visits has led some scholars, most notably A . T . Kraabel, to reject the notion of god-fearers in the synagogues as a Lukan construct.  176  5. Implications for the Function of the Synagogue: Acts offers an interesting picture of the functions of the synagogue in a Jewish community surrounded by Greco-Roman culture. Jews meet for weekly Sabbath observance, and speakers from outside the community seem to be welcome to speak. In some ways, the role of synagogues in the dissemination of information is worth considering. d. The Gospel of John: 1. Historical Background: The Gospel of John is far less useful for the discussion of the Second Temple 177  synagogue. It contains only five references to synagogues. 2. Definite Synagogue References: There are two types of references to synagogues in John: Jesus' teaching in the synagogue (6:59 and 18:20) and the expulsion Christians from the synagogue (9:22, 12:42 and 16:2). 3. Possible Synagogue References: Not applicable.  Levine, First Thousand Years, 108. A.T. Kraabel, "The Disappearance of the God-Fearers," Numen 28 (1981):121. Though other scholars challenged Kraabel's views, I think that they were discounted too quickly. Paul Trebilco, for example, dismisses Kraabel's arguments by citing the sparse evidence for god-fearers from Josephus {Jewish Communities in Asia Minor (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1991), 147. He fails to recognise Kraabel's main point, however, that without the references in Acts, no one would ever have interpreted the rest of the evidence in the way that they have. 1 7 5  1 7 6  46  4.  Problems: M o s t scholars c o n s i d e r that the references to the e x p u l s i o n o f C h r i s t i a n s f r o m the  synagogues i n the G o s p e l o f J o h n represent a later r e a l i t y .  178  It is u n c l e a r w h e n these  e x p u l s i o n s t o o k place. T h e r e have been somewhat u n s u c c e s s f u l attempts to l i n k the e x p u l s i o n to s p e c i f i c R a b b i n i c texts; h o w e v e r , none disagrees that the references are anachronistic.  179  5. Implications for the Function of the Synagogue: T e a c h i n g i n the synagogue seems to have been a c o m m o n practice. It is f o u n d i n Josephus a n d the s y n o p t i c gospels.  IV. Epigraphic Evidence T h e e p i g r a p h i c evidence f o r the existence a n d spread o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue is substantial a n d diverse. Inscriptions f r o m J e r u s a l e m , the B o s p o r u s , D e l o s , A s i a M i n o r , E g y p t a n d C y r e n i c a w i l l p r o v i d e further evidence f o r the diversity o f functions o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue.  a. Theodotus Inscription: T h e o d o t u s , s o n o f Vettenus, priest a n d archisynagogos, s o n o f a n archisynagogos, g r a n d s o n o f a n archisynagogos, b u i l t the synagogue f o r the r e a d i n g o f the T o r a h a n d the study o f the c o m m a n d m e n t s , a n d the guest house a n d r o o m s a n d the water installations,  f o r the needy travellers  f r o m abroad. T h e foundations  o f the  synagogue w e r e l a i d b y h i s fathers a n d the elders a n d S i m o n i d e s .  1.  Historical Background: R a i m o n d W e i l l d i s c o v e r e d the T h e o d o t u s i n s c r i p t i o n d u r i n g h i s excavations o f the  C i t y o f D a v i d i n Jerusalem i n 1913-14. T h e i n s c r i p t i o n w a s f o u n d l y i n g loose at the  1 7 7  1 7 8  1 7 9  1 8 0  John 6:59, 9:22, 12:42, 16:2, and 18:20. Flesher, "Palestinian Synagogues," 32. Steven Wilson, Related Strangers: Jews and Christians 70-170 C.E. (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995), 72. C / J 1404.  47  bottom of a cistern in a fifth century Roman bathing complex at the foot of the Temple mount. 2. Definite Synagogue References: The Theodotus inscription refers to the reading and study of the Torah in the synagogue. Theodotus also claims to have built a guest house and water installations for pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem, but it is important to note that the hostelling facilities seem to be separate from the synagogue. 3. Possible Synagogue References: Not applicable. 4. Problems: The prominence of the Theodotus inscription in every discussion of the function of the Second Temple synagogue makes a detailed analysis necessary. Each investigator dredges up the arguments associated with the Theodotus inscription in order to support her or his version of the origin and purpose of the synagogue. A preliminary examination of the text is important. The date of the inscription is problematic. Most follow Deissmann in arguing for a pre-70 date,  181  owing to the fact that there would be no pilgrims after the destruction of  the Temple. As Peter Richardson wrote, I am persuaded of its pre-70 date by the reference to "needy travellers from abroad," pre-supposing pilgrims from the Diaspora on their way to fulfil Temple obligations, a part of the Jewish life that must have ceased with the disastrous conclusion of the [First] Revolt. 182  G. A. Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East: The New Testament Illustrated by Recently Discovered Texts of the Graeco-Roman World. (4 ed.; New York: George H. Doran, 1927), 439. Peter Richardson, "Collegia," in Kloppenborg and Wilson, Voluntary Associations, 108, no. 51. th  1 8 2  48  H a r o l d C l a r k K e e challenged the first century date i n the defence o f h i s c l a i m s that the synagogue d i d not exist p r i o r to the destruction o f the T e m p l e . H e argued that the o r i g i n a l d a t i n g w a s n o t done based o n a r c h a e o l o g i c a l o r e p i g r a p h i c grounds, but o n the s u p p o s e d terminus post quern o f the destruction o f the T e m p l e :  1 8 3  references  normally  to S e c o n d T e m p l e  synagogues w o u l d  K e e ' s s c h o l a r l y bias against a l l call  into  suggestion; h o w e v e r , h i s argument does seem to have some v a l i d i t y .  question h i s Some modern  scholars have expressed doubt as to h o w c a r e f u l l y the R o m a n legislation w a s e n f o r c e d , a n d they suggest the p o s s i b i l i t y o f J e w i s h residency i n J e r u s a l e m after 70 C E .  1 8 5  1 8 4  Among  the extant l a w s f r o m the Theodosian Code f r o m the reign o f C o n s t a n t i n e is one a l l o w i n g J e w s to enter the city o f Aelia Capitolina  o n the feast o f P u r i m , so they c o u l d r e m e m b e r  their i g n o m i n i o u s defeat. None  o f the debates is w o r t h e x p l o r i n g  further, as the i n s c r i p t i o n  is not  p a r t i c u l a r l y u s e f u l to a d i s c u s s i o n o f the f u n c t i o n o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue, even i f the T h e o d o t u s i n s c r i p t i o n is often u s e d to illustrate c o m m o n synagogue practice. T h e J e r u s a l e m synagogue, even i f f r o m the first century, w o u l d not have f u n c t i o n e d l i k e m o s t other synagogues. T h e synagogue w a s set u p near the T e m p l e f o r a s p e c i a l purpose, " f o r the  needy  travellers  from  a b r o a d . " T h u s , the T h e o d o t u s  inscription  refers  to a n  extraordinary installation d e a l i n g w i t h the s p e c i f i c requirements o f J e w s h a v i n g to travel to J e r u s a l e m . H o s t e l l i n g a n d water installations s h o u l d not therefore necessarily be taken as i n d i c a t i v e o f regular synagogue functions. Instead, the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f the T h e o d o t u s  Harold Clark Kee, "Defining the first century CE Synagogue: Problems and Progress," NTS 41(1995): 483. This argument is found in both Avi-Yonah's The Jews of Palestine (New York: Schocken, 1976) and in E. Mary Smallwood's The Jews Under Roman Rule (Leiden: Brill, 1981). L. Michael White is quick to point out that the dating could stretch to the time of the second revolt, or else the late fourth-fifth centuries. The Social Origins of Christian Architecture Volume II: Texts and Monuments for the Christian Domus Ecclesiae in its Environment (Valley Forge: Trinity, 1997), 294. 1 8 3  1 8 4  1 8 5  49  i n s c r i p t i o n s h o u l d be l i m i t e d to its p r o v i d i n g e v i d e n c e f o r a n early synagogue w i t h i n Jerusalem.  5. Implications for the Function of the Synagogue: T h e T h e o d o t u s synagogue w a s built f o r a s p e c i a l purpose: to a i d p i l g r i m s i n Jerusalem. It s h o u l d not necessarily be u s e d as e v i d e n c e that hostelry w a s a c o m m o n synagogue f u n c t i o n i n the S e c o n d T e m p l e p e r i o d . T h e T e m p l e h a d a e x c e p t i o n a l p l a c e i n Judaism,  a n d the requirements  o f pilgrimage  developments i n the J e w i s h institutions  likely  would  have  l e d to  unique  i n J e r u s a l e m . F u r t h e r m o r e , the text o f the  i n s c r i p t i o n is a m b i g u o u s a n d the a d d i t i o n a l facilities m a y refer to a separate b u i l d i n g . T h e i n s c r i p t i o n does suggest that r e a d i n g the T o r a h a n d s t u d y i n g the scriptures w e r e important f u n c t i o n s o f synagogues. T h e y w e r e evidently c o n s i d e r e d so important that they took place literally i n the s h a d o w o f the temple,  b. Manumission Inscriptions from the Bosporus. 1. Historical Background: In the 1 9  t h  a n d early 2 0  t h  centuries a series o f J e w i s h m a n u m i s s i o n i n s c r i p t i o n s  w a s d i s c o v e r e d i n the B o s p o r u s k i n g d o m , w h i c h is located i n the coastal areas o f the eastern C r i m e a a n d the T a m a p e n i n s u l a .  1 8 6  T h e i n s c r i p t i o n s range f r o m the first to the  f o u r t h centuries C E , t h o u g h five o f t h e m are dated to the S e c o n d T e m p l e p e r i o d . G r e e k settlements i n the area b e g a n d u r i n g the eighth century B C E , a n d c o n t i n u e d w e l l into the c o m m o n e r a , though the first i n d i c a t i o n o f a J e w i s h presence w a s not u n t i l the century  BCE.  1 8 7  first  T h e manumission inscriptions provide valuable evidence for our  See Irina Levinskaya, "Appendix 3: Inscriptions from the Bosporan Kingdom," in The Book ofActs in its Diaspora Setting (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1996). Binder, Temple Courts, 273. 1 8 7  50  understanding o f D i a s p o r a J u d a i s m , though they have been little d i s c u s s e d i n the f o r m e r S o v i e t U n i o n a n d are not v e r y w e l l k n o w n i n the w e s t .  1 8 8  2. Definite Synagogue References: T h e i n s c r i p t i o n s are a l l structurally s i m i l a r , e a c h g i v i n g the n a m e o f the slave a n d h i s / h e r benefactor, a n d then g i v i n g the c o m m u n i t y (the synagoge) legal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to keep the slave free f r o m h a r a s s m e n t .  189  In the r e i g n o f k i n g C o t y s , o n the 1 d a y o f the m o n t h X a n d i k o s , P s y c h a r i o n a n d h i s sons S o g o s a n d A n o s . K a r s a n d a n o s a n d K a r a g o s a n d M e t r o t e i m o s are set free f o r ( i n ? ) the prayer-house w i t h o u t let o r h i n d r a n c e o n c o n d i t i o n that they are conscientious i n their attendance to prayer-house a n d h o n o u r it a n d they b e c a m e free also under the j o i n t g u a r d i a n s h i p o f the J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y . s t  1 9 0  T h e i n s c r i p t i o n s appear to b e w r i t t e n i n a format c o m m o n to T e m p l e m a n u m i s s i o n s f r o m the area. A n u m b e r , i n c l u d i n g o n e f r o m G o r g i p p i a i n 4 1 C E , m a n u m i t the slave i n the name o f " Z e u s , G e a n d H e l i o s . "  1 9 1  S c h u r e r o r i g i n a l l y assumed that the J e w s o f the  B o s p o r u s p r a c t i s e d a syncretised J u d a i s m . G o o d e n o u g h , h o w e v e r , c o n v i n c i n g l y argued o n the basis o f p a p y r o l o g i c a l evidence that p e r f o r m i n g m a n u m i s s i o n s b y c i t i n g the names o f three p a g a n gods w a s m e r e l y a legal f o r m u l a . T h e J e w s w h o c o m p o s e d the i n s c r i p t i o n s d i d not feel a n y sense o f c o n n e c t i o n w i t h the three g o d s .  1 9 2  T h e B o s p o r a n i n s c r i p t i o n s p r o v i d e m u c h important e v i d e n c e f o r the practice o f J u d a i s m i n the area. I n a n u m b e r o f cases the freed slave i s r e q u i r e d to adhere to stipulations  o f the synagogue.  Whether  the stipulations  represent  a  contractual  J. Andrew Overman, "Jews, Slaves and the Synagogue on the Black Sea: The Bosporan Manumission Inscriptions and Their Significance for Diaspora Judaism," in Kee and Cohick, Evolution of the Synagogue, 144. E. Leigh Gibson, The Jewish Manumission Inscriptions of the Bosporus Kingdom (Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1999), 98. Translated by Levinskaya, Diaspora, 237. Translated by Levinskaya, Diaspora, 240. E.R Goodenough, "The Bosporus Inscriptions to the Most High God," JOR 47 (1954): 222. 1 8 9  1 9 0  1 9 1  1 9 2  51  relationship to w o r k for the synagogue f o r a set p e r i o d o f time or force the slave to b e c o m e a ' G o d - F e a r e r ' is uncertain. T h e role o f the c o m m u n i t y i n the m a n u m i s s i o n is most significant. In the G r e c o R o m a n w o r l d , m a n u m i s s i o n w a s n o r m a l l y p e r f o r m e d i n a temple. T h e slave w o u l d be s o l d to the g o d for a p r i c e p a i d b y the slave or a benefactor, and the temple w o u l d then g i v e the m o n e y f r o m the sale b a c k to the o w n e r .  1 9 3  In her w o r k o n the B o s p o r u s  i n s c r i p t i o n s , L e i g h G i b s o n outlines h o w the i n s c r i p t i o n s have the same f o r m as the other sacred inscriptions o f the s u r r o u n d i n g c u l t u r e s .  194  T h u s , the synagogues o f the B o s p o r u s  were p e r f o r m i n g a temple f u n c t i o n , a n d the c o m m u n i t y w a s t a k i n g legal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the slave.  3.  Possible Synagogue References: N o t applicable.  4.  Problems: T h e s e inscriptions w e r e o r i g i n a l l y c h a l l e n g e d o n the basis that they c o u l d not b e  proven  c o n c l u s i v e l y to  be J e w i s h .  1 9 5  However,  as d i s c u s s e d i n  the  introduction,  L e v i n s k a y a has p r o v e n that references to the proseuche are J e w i s h .  5.  Implications for the Function of the Synagogue: H o w d i d the J e w s o f the area v i e w their synagogues? B i n d e r argues that the  B o s p o r a n J e w s considered their synagogues as analogous to temples. H e c l a i m s that the B o s p o r a n synagogues took  o n temple  synagogue to be a religious b u i l d i n g .  1 9 3 1 9 4  1 9 5 1 9 6  functions  because the J e w s c o n s i d e r e d their  1 9 6  Binder, Temple Courts, 440. Gibson, Manumission, 30-55. Gibson, Manumission, 5. Binder, Temple Courts, 445.  52  T h o u g h B i n d e r is correct i n h i s c l a i m that m a n u m i s s i o n w a s n o r m a l l y a temple f u n c t i o n , h i s argument  is p r o b l e m a t i c . U n l i k e temple i n s c r i p t i o n s , i n the B o s p o r a n  synagogue i n s c r i p t i o n s the slave i s n o t b e i n g freed to a G o d , but rather to a c o m m u n i t y . T h i s difference a l l o w e d the J e w s to participate i n a l o c a l n o r m , freeing slaves through r e l i g i o u s structures, w i t h o u t b e i n g f o r c e d to take part i n pagan religious actions,  c. Samaritan Inscriptions from Delos: 1.  Historical Background: Further evidence comes f r o m t w o S a m a r i t a n synagogue dedications u n c o v e r e d o n  D e l o s . A c c o r d i n g to Josephus, the S a m a r i t a n D i a s p o r a c a n b e traced b a c k to A l e x a n d e r the G r e a t ' s settlement o f S a m a r i t a n troops i n E g y p t . C r o w n , a noted S a m a r i t a n scholar, has even suggested that the temple at E l e p h a n t i n e w a s S a m a r i t a n a n d not J e w i s h .  1 9 7  Josephus outlines the extent o f the S a m a r i t a n D i a s p o r a i n Jewish Antiquities 11.345, 17.7, and 1 8 . 7 4 - 7 5 .  1 9 8  T h e Samaritans also h a d synagogues, though their o r i g i n s are as contentious as their J e w i s h c o u n t e r p a r t s .  199  T w o steles that c o n f i r m a S a m a r i t a n presence a n d synagogue  o n D e l o s were d i s c o v e r e d i n 1979 b y a F r e n c h a r c h a e o l o g i c a l team, a n d m a y help i l l u m i n a t e o u r present d i s c u s s i o n . T h e y were w r i t t e n o n rectangular m a r b l e slabs w i t h wreaths i n h i g h r e l i e f .  200  B r u n e a u dated the first stele between 2 5 0 a n d 175 B C E .  was mutilated and had a six line i n s c r i p t i o n .  2 0 1  It  202  Alan Crown, The Samaritans (Tubingen: Mohr, 1989) 197. Josephus should be trusted to be revealing what he believed true. Jews of the first century did not like or associate with Samaritans, and he would have hardly desired to increase their stature to a Roman audience by increasing their numbers or spread. A.T. Kraabel, "New Evidence of the Samaritan Diaspora has been found on Delos," BA Al (1984): 46. In its section on Samaritan synagogues, the NEAHL claims that they did not begin until the third century CE (Itzhak Magen, "Samaritan Synagogues," NEAHL, 1424). Kraabel, "Delos," 45. 1 9 7  1 9 8  1 9 9  2 0 0  53  Israelites w h o contribute  their  offerings  to the h o l y  temple  (of) Argarizin  h o n o u r e d M e n i p p o s son o f A r t e m i d o r o s f r o m H e r a c l e i o n a n d h i s o f f s p r i n g w h o constructed a n d dedicated at their expense to the proseuche o f G o d , the...and the walls a n d a n d crowned h i m w i t h a gold wreath a n d . . . B r u n e a u dated the second i n s c r i p t i o n later, to between 150 a n d 5 0 B C E , T h e Israelites i n D e l o s w h o contribute their offerings to the temple ( o f ) A r g a r i z i n c r o w n S a r a p i o n s o n o f J a s o n c i t i z e n o f K n o s s o s w i t h a g o l d w r e a t h because o f h i s benefactions towards t h e m .  2 0 3  T h e i n s c r i p t i o n s w e r e f o u n d 92.5 meters to the n o r t h o f the J e w i s h synagogue. T h e y are definitely S a m a r i t a n , as they refer to M o u n t G e r a z i m , the site o f the S a m a r i t a n T e m p l e a n d the f o c a l point f o r S a m a r i t a n w o r s h i p even today. A s w e l l , they must b e l o n g to a b u i l d i n g because they w e r e o r i g i n a l l y m o u n t e d o n the w a l l .  2 0 4  2. Definite Synagogue References: T h e S a m a r i t a n i n s c r i p t i o n s are v a l u a b l e to o u r d i s c u s s i o n as they suggest that n o n - S a m a r i t a n s donated m o n e y to support the c o m m u n i t y . B r u n e a u argued f r o m the first that the dedications w e r e n o t donated b y Samaritans. Samaritans w o u l d l i k e l y n o t h a v e c o m e f r o m H e r a c l e i o n o r K n o s s o s . A s w e l l , the names d o n o t seem t o b e S a m a r i t a n .  2 0 5  T h e donors evidently c o n s i d e r e d that p r o v i d i n g m o n e y a n d support to a S a m a r i t a n synagogue benefited them.  3. Possible Synagogue References: N o t applicable.  P. Bruneau, '"Les Israelites de Delos' et la Juiverie Delienne," Bulletin de correspondance Hellenique 1 (1982): 481. Bruneau, "Delos," 467. Inscriptions de Delos 2328 and 2330 (Translation from B. Hudson McLean, "Voluntary Associations and Churches on Delos," in Kloppenborg and Wilson, Voluntary Associations, 191). L. Michael White, Building God's House in the Roman World: Architectural Adaptation among Pagans, JeM's and Christians (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1990), 64. Bruneau, "Delos," 467. 2 0 1  2 0 2  2 0 3  2 0 4  2 0 5  54  4. Problems: B r u n e a u , w h o first brought the i n s c r i p t i o n s to light, suggested that, because o f 206  their p r o x i m i t y to the synagogue b u i l d i n g o n D e l o s , the area w a s an Israelite ghetto. T h e existence o f a segregated area f o r J e w s a n d Samaritans seems to b e a n anachronistic projection,  207  but the nearness o f the steles has l e d others to suggest that the D e l o s  synagogue w a s , i n fact, a S a m a r i t a n synagogue. T h e i n s c r i p t i o n s are i m p l i c i t l y confrontational, h o w e v e r , a n d that m a y suggest t h e existence o f t w o c o m p e t i n g groups i n the area. T h e c o m m u n i t y  refers to i t s e l f as  Israelites w h o w o r s h i p o n M t . G e r a z i m , w h i c h w o u l d really o n l y b e a m e a n i n g f u l c l a i m i f there w e r e " I s r a e l i t e s " o n D e l o s w h o w o r s h i p p e d somewhere else. T h e i n s c r i p t i o n s also seem to challenge the antiquity o f the J e w s . T h e S a m a r i t a n s e l f - d e f i n i t i o n as " I s r a e l i t e s " suggests  greater  antiquity  than  J e w (from Judaea).  2 0 9  They  represent  a level  of  c o m p e t i t i o n one w o u l d o n l y expect i f the t w o groups were b o t h present o n the i s l a n d .  5. Implications for the Function of the Synagogue: T h e S a m a r i t a n i n s c r i p t i o n s suggest that it w a s not u n u s u a l f o r n o n - J e w s to donate funds to synagogues. T h a t pagan benefactors, w h o were not p a r t i c u l a r l y interested i n c o n v e r t i n g , c o n s i d e r e d it w o r t h w h i l e to donate m o n e y i m p l i e s that the synagogue w a s seen as the f o c a l p o i n t o f the J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y .  Further e p i g r a p h i c evidence f o r  donatory practice i s r e c o r d e d f r o m late first century C E A c m o n i a i n A s i a . The  prayer-house  archisynagogus  built  by  Ioulia  Severa  P(oublios)  Tyrronios  Klados,  f o r l i f e , a n d L o u k i o s , s o n o f L o u k i o s , archisynagogos,  P o p l i o s Z o t i k o s , archon,  and  have repaired out o f their o w n resources a n d the  c o m m u n i t y funds. T h e y have also e m b e l l i s h e d the w a l l s a n d the c e i l i n g w i t h 2 0 6  2 0 7 2 0 8  2 0 9  Bruneau, "Delos," 467. Kraabel, "Delos," 46. See especially McLean, "Delos". McLean, "Delos," 45.  55  paintings a n d m a d e safe the w i n d o w s a n d c a r r i e d out a general refurbishment. T h e c o m m u n i t y (synagoge) h a s h o n o u r e d t h e m w i t h a g i l d e d s h i e l d because o f their virtuous conduct a n d their g o o d w i l l a n d z e a l towards the c o m m u n i t y . ( D F no. 33) T h o u g h this i n s c r i p t i o n i s a little outside o f the temporal f r a m e w o r k o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue, it s h o w s that some n o n - J e w s evidently contributed to synagogues. I n a d d i t i o n to p r o v i d i n g f u n d i n g f o r the synagogue, J u l i a S e v e r a w a s also the h i g h priestess o f the I m p e r i a l C u l t .  2 1 1  T h a t she c o u l d m a i n t a i n that post w h i l e b e i n g an a r c h i s y n a g o g u s  for l i f e m a y also c a l l into question the r e l i g i o u s f u n c t i o n o f the synagogue,  d. Egyptian Inscriptions:  212  1. Historical Background: T h e earliest a n d most n u m e r o u s synagogue i n s c r i p t i o n s c o m e f r o m P t o l e m a i c Egypt.  2 1 3  T h e earliest dates to the m i d d l e o f the t h i r d century B C E a n d the i n s c r i p t i o n s  continue into the R o m a n era.  2. Definite Synagogue References: T h o u g h there are a f e w w h i c h o f f e r some e v i d e n c e f o r the f u n c t i o n o f the synagogue, most o f the i n s c r i p t i o n s p r o v i d e dedications to the r u l i n g k i n g o r queen, the names o f the donators a n d their c h i l d r e n . F o r e x a m p l e , O n b e h a l f o f (hyper) k i n g P t o l e m y a n d queen B e r e n i c e h i s sister a n d w i f e a n d their c h i l d r e n , the J e w s (dedicated) the p r o s e u c h e .  214  This practice is also evident in the donation of a synagogue building to the Jews of Capernaum by a Roman centurion (Luke 7:1-5). Levinskaya, Diaspora, 123. There are ten inscriptions that refer to Egyptian synagogues (Horbury and Noy, Jewish Inscriptions, nos. 9, 13, 22 , 24, 27, 28, 105, 117, 125, and 126). All of the Egyptian inscriptions use the term "proseuche" (see the discussion above). The inscriptions are all from buildings as all of the inscriptions were meant to be wall-mounted and a number of them refer to rooms or adjoining buildings. Horbury and Noy, Jewish Inscriptions, 22.  2 1 0  2 1 1  2 1 2  2 1 3  2 1 4  56  S o m e o f the i n s c r i p t i o n s p r o v i d e details about E g y p t i a n - J e w i s h practice a n d the interconnection between the J e w s a n d their s u r r o u n d i n g culture. O n e i n s c r i p t i o n records the granting o f the right o f a s y l u m , a r i g h t that w a s n o r m a l l y o n l y c o n f i r m e d o n temples. T h e o r i g i n a l is l i k e l y dated to 145-116 B C E , w h i l e the replacement comes f r o m 4 7 - 3 1 BCE. O n the orders o f the queen a n d k i n g , i n place o f the previous p l a q u e about the d e d i c a t i o n o f the proseuche let w h a t i s w r i t t e n b e l o w be w r i t t e n u p . K i n g P t o l e m y Euergetes (proclaimed) the proseuche inviolate. T h e k i n g a n d queen gave the order.  215  O t h e r s suggest that some synagogues h a d architectural attachments l i k e exedra (see the d i s c u s s i o n o f a r c h a e o l o g i c a l d e f i n i t i o n s i n the introduction).  3. Possible Synagogue References: N o t applicable.  4. Problems: N o t applicable.  5. Implications for the Function of the Synagogue: Interestingly, the i n s c r i p t i o n s u s e language i d e n t i c a l to that f o u n d i n T e m p l e dedications. A s P a u l Fraser wrote, " i n most instances the d e d i c a t i o n i s i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e f r o m a p a g a n equivalent save f o r the substitution o f the t e r m ' s y n a g o g u e . " '  2 1 6  The  i n s c r i p t i o n s a l l b e g i n w i t h "hyper", the regular l o y a l t y f o r m u l a u s e d b y G r e e k s i n dedications to b o t h E g y p t i a n a n d G r e e k gods. T h e f o r m u l a thus h o n o u r s the P t o l e m a i c rulers, but a v o i d s d e i f y i n g them.  Horbury and Noy, Jewish Inscriptions, 125. Arightalso confirmed by a papyrus from 218 BCE (see below). Paul Fraser, Ptolemaic Alexandria (quoted by Binder, Temple Courts, 240). 2 1 5  2 1 6  57  Does  providing  synagogues w i t h the  power  of  inviolability  m e a n that  the  E g y p t i a n s considered synagogues analogous to temples? D . B i n d e r certainly advocates that p o s i t i o n , suggesting as w e l l that the use o f architectural features l i k e exedra  211  appurtenances  218  and  relate to b o t h pagan c u l t i c practice a n d the presentation o f the J e w i s h  T e m p l e i n the L X X .  2 1 9  H e b a c k s a w a y f r o m the argument that E g y p t i a n synagogues were  c o n s i d e r e d temples i n the c o n c l u s i o n o f h i s section o n E g y p t , but the a f f i n i t y between temples a n d synagogues is at the heart o f h i s study; he argues that the synagogue a n d the T e m p l e w e r e c l o s e l y related simplistic  an explanation  in function.  of why  2 2 0  B i n d e r ' s explanation  seems to b e  synagogues t o o k o n E g y p t i a n temple  too  functions,  however. T h e J u d a i s m preserved i n our literary sources does not seem to fit w i t h s u c h a syncretistic a p p r o a c h . T h o u g h A r i s t e a s , P h i l o , a n d the writers o f 3 M a c c a b e e s a l l present a J u d a i s m c o m f o r t a b l e i n E g y p t a n d i n line w i t h A l e x a n d r i a n E g y p t i a n thought, none presents a J u d a i s m that has taken over the temple structure. Peter R i c h a r d s o n has noted that P h i l o excludes a l l reference to the O n i a s ' temple i n E g y p t , w h i c h he considers possible evidence o f strife between the t w o f o r m s o f J e w i s h p i e t y .  221  T h e synagogues i n  P t o l e m a i c E g y p t took o n temple-based structures a n d p o w e r s because they served the same s o c i a l f u n c t i o n that the temples served f o r other alien p o p u l a t i o n s - they were the central f o c u s f o r the c o m m u n i t y .  2 1 7  2 1 8  2 1 9  2 2 0 2 2 1  Horbury and Noy, Jewish Inscriptions, 28. Horbury and Noy, Jewish Inscriptions, 9. Binder, Temple Courts, 244-5. Binder, Temple Courts, 22. Richardson, "Collegia," in Kloppenborg and Wilson, Voluntary Associations, 106, no. 24.  58  e. Inscriptions from Cyrenica: 1. Historical Background: T h o u g h n o t nearly so diverse as the i n s c r i p t i o n s f r o m E g y p t , t w o o f C y r e n i c a ' s i n s c r i p t i o n s f r o m the first century B C E are important  f o r o u r d i s c u s s i o n . T h e y are,  h o w e v e r , quite contentious, as they m a y not refer to synagogues at a l l .  2. Definite Synagogue References: N o t applicable.  3. Possible Synagogue References: B o t h o f the inscriptions i n question relate to h o n o u r i n g the help a n d support o f p r o m i n e n t l o c a l figures p u b l i c l y . In the first, the J e w s o f B e r e n i c e h o n o u r the l o c a l legate o f the R o m a n governor f o r some u n k n o w n help a n d support that h e has p r o v i d e d the community. Y e a r 5 5 , P h a o p h i 2 5 , at the assembly o f the Feast o f Tabernacles (skenopegia), i n the a r c h o n s h i p o f K l e a n d r o s . . . [list o f archons]: because M a r k o s T i t t i o s , son o f Sextos, o f the A e m i l i a n tribe, a w o r t h y a n d excellent m a n , since c o m i n g to the province  to  administer  public  affairs  has directed  their  governance  with  benevolence a n d s k i l l a n d i n h i s b e h a v i o u r consistently s h o w n h i m s e l f to b e o f an e i r e n i c d i s p o s i t i o n , a n d has b e h a v e d u n o p p r e s s i v e l y b o t h i n these ( p u b l i c matters) a n d w i t h regard to those o f the citizens w h o have approached h i m privately, a n d because  f o r the J e w s  o f our politeuma  both  publicly  and privately  his  a d m i n i s t r a t i o n has been u s e f u l a n d h e has not ceased to p e r f o r m deeds i n k e e p i n g w i t h h i s o w n essential n o b i l i t y  o f character, therefore  the archons a n d the  p o l i t e u m a b o t h have d e c i d e d to l a u d h i m a n d c r o w n h i m ' b y n a m e ' at each gathering a n d e a c h N e w M o o n w i t h a wreath o f o l i v e leaves a n d ( a fillet o f ) w o o l . T h e archons are to i n s c r i b e the decree o n a stele o f P a r i a n stone (i.e. m a r b l e ) a n d to p l a c e it i n the most c o n s p i c u o u s part o f the amphitheatre. A l l (pebbles) w h i t e (i.e. d e c i d e d u n a n i m o u s l y ) .  2  2  — CJZC 71.  59  In the s e c o n d i n s c r i p t i o n , the J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y p u b l i c l y thanks a benefactor o f the amphitheatre, w h o p a i d f o r the plastering a n d p a i n t i n g o f the b u i l d i n g .  2 2 3  T h o u g h the  donator's ethnicity i s unclear, B i n d e r argues that D e k m o s m u s t b e J e w i s h , otherwise h i s b e i n g e x c u s e d f r o m further liturgies w o u l d b e p o i n t l e s s .  224  ( Y e a r ) . . . P h a m e n o t h 5, i n the a r c h o n s h i p . . . S i n c e D e k m o s O u a l e r i o s D i o n y s i o s , s o n o f G a i o s . . . remains a f i n e a n d g o o d m a n a n d does g o o d , w h e n e v e r he c a n , b o t h p u b l i c l y a n d p r i v a t e l y , to each o f the c i t i z e n s , a n d has plastered the f l o o r o f the amphitheatre a n d decorated the w a l l s w i t h p a i n t i n g , the archons a n d p o l i t e u m a o f the J e w s i n B e r e n i c e have d e c i d e d to enrol h i m i n the ... o f the ... a n d exempt h i m f r o m a l l liturgies (i.e. p u b l i c duties i n the J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y ) . L i k e w i s e to c r o w n h i m ' b y n a m e ' at each m e e t i n g a n d N e w M o o n w i t h a wreath o f o l i v e leaves a n d a (fillet o f ) w o o l . A f t e r i n s c r i b i n g this decree o n a stele o f P a r i a n stone (i.e. m a r b l e ) , the archons are to place it i n the most c o n s p i c u o u s part o f the amphitheatre. A l l w h i t e . D e k m o s O u a l e r i o u s D i o n y s i o s , s o n o f G a i o s , has plastered the f l o o r a n d the amphitheatre polituema  2 2 5  a n d painted it at h i s o w n expense as a c o n t r i b u t i o n  to the  .  4. Problems: T h e p r o b l e m f o r interpreting these i n s c r i p t i o n s is o b v i o u s . T h e i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f the J e w i s h b u i l d i n g i n B e r e n i k e as a n ' a m p h i t h e a t r e ' i s the o n l y attested usage o f the t e r m for a synagogue.  226  In the early R o m a n p e r i o d the amphitheatre b e c a m e associated w i t h  gladiatorial contests, but the w o r d c o u l d h a v e referred to a p l a c e f o r p u b l i c m e e t i n g w i t h seats i n an o v a l o r u - s h a p e .  227  T h e L S J defines amphitheatre as " a double theatre,  The inscription provides an interesting allusion to synagogue decoration in the Second Temple period. Though it is not within the scope of the present study to examine the issue of synagogue art, the inscription provides direct evidence for the early decoration of synagogues. Binder, Temple Courts, 258. CJZC 70 in Williams, Diaspora, V.36. For a different interpretation of what is presented here, see R. Tracey's commentary in New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity 4, 111. Tracey suggests that the inscription is evidence of rapprochement between Jews and their Greek neighbours, to the extent that they feel justified in publicly thanking a benefactor to the local amphitheatre. Tracey fails to take into account the plastering of the floor. He also mistakenly suggests that objections to the building being an amphitheatre were based on the suggestion that the Jews could not have been so close to their neighbours. In his argument against a strict definition of Judaism, Tracey has settled on a strict definition of an architectural form that had not yet been developed. Williams, n.31, 194. 2 2 3  2 2 4  2 2 5  2 2 6  2 2 7  60  amphitheatre, a space w h o l l y surrounded b y seats r i s i n g one b e h i n d another, so as to c o m m a n d a v i e w o f the w h o l e a r e n a . "  2 2 8  T h e literal m e a n i n g o f amphitheatron has been  taken t o suggest that the term c o u l d b e m e r e l y r e f e r r i n g to a G r e e k  bouleterion.  The  i n s c r i p t i o n d i d n o t l i k e l y refer to the type o f structure used f o r gladiatorial games. A c c o r d i n g to R o b e r t s o n , the amphitheatre as a site f o r gladiatorial games o n l y b e g a n to develop i n the first century B C E a n d w a s m o s t l y focussed i n the L a t i n west, o n l y m a k i n g inroads into the G r e e k east i n the s e c o n d century C E .  2 3 0  V i t r u v i u s d i d n o t m e n t i o n the  amphitheatre at a l l . Instead, h e a d v i s e d architects to consider gladiatorial matches w h e n designing a f o r u m .  2 3 1  T h e oldest s u r v i v i n g amphitheatre f r o m P o m p e i i (80 B C E ) predates  any m e n t i o n o f the f o r m b y ancient writers. A c c o r d i n g to R o l l e r , most amphitheatres w e r e temporary structures u n t i l after the t i m e o f A u g u s t u s . N o stone amphitheatres w e r e b u i l t outside o f Italy u n t i l after the t i m e o f J u l i u s C a e s a r . never p l a s t e r e d ,  233  Jewish building.  2 3 4  inscription  from  2 3 2  Amphitheatre floors were  yet the i n s c r i p t i o n thanks D i o n y s i o s f o r plastering the f l o o r o f the O n e m o r e suggestive p i e c e o f evidence comes f r o m a later (55 C E )  Berenice.  2 3 5  T h e i n s c r i p t i o n lists a l l o f the c o m m u n i t y  members  {synagoge) w h o h a d donated m o n e y f o r the u p k e e p o f the synagogue {synagoge). P e r h a p s the change o f n o m e n c l a t u r e reflects the g r o w i n g p o p u l a r i t y o f the amphitheatre as a site for g a m e s .  2 3 6  LSJ, "amphitheatron" 83. S. Applebaum, Jews and Greeks in Ancient Cyrene (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1979), 161. D.S. Robertson, Greek and Roman Architecture (3 ed.; Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1988), 283. Vitruvius, V.I.I. Roller, Building Program, 83. Robertson, Architecture, 283. Binder, Temple Courts, 143. Applebaum points out that the phrase, epidoma toipoliteumati, is the same formula used in an honorary inscription by the Idumaeans to thank a high official for painting and plastering the Temple of Apollo which belonged to the politeuma, Ancient Cyrene, 160. CJZC 72 Binder, Temple Courts, 144.  2 2 8  2 2 9 2 3 0  rd  2 3 1  2 3 2  2 3 3  2 3 4  2 3 5  2 3 6  61  5. Implications for the Function of the Synagogue: T h e C y r e n i c a inscriptions p r o v i d e evidence that the synagogue w a s u s e d t o p u b l i c l y thank benefactors, r e s e m b l i n g the practice attested i n P h i l o a n d i n E g y p t i a n synagogue inscriptions. M o r e i n f o r m a t i v e , perhaps, i s the amount o f interaction w i t h l o c a l n o r m s i m p l i e d i n the i n s c r i p t i o n . T h e m e t h o d o f v o t i n g ( a l l w h i t e ) resembles H e l l e n i s t i c practice, a n d the t e r m i n o l o g y reflects a G r e e k frame o f reference.  V . Papyri: 1. Historical Background: P a p y r o l o g i c a l evidence p r o v i d e s a n u m b e r o f details about the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue, though most o f the evidence comes f r o m E g y p t .  2. Definite Synagogue References: O n e early p a p y r u s records the plight o f a w o m a n w h o s e garment w a s stolen a n d then brought  into the J e w i s h synagogue. H e r story m a k e s it evident that E g y p t i a n  proseuche h a d the p o w e r to p r o v i d e sanctuary at an early date (218 B C E ) . [To K i n g P t o l e m y ,  2 3 7  greetings f r o m ] ... w h o lives i n A l e x a n d r o u - N e s o s . I a m  b e i n g w r o n g e d b y [Dorotheos, a J e w w h o l i v e s i n the same] v i l l a g e . I n the 5  t h  year, a c c o r d i n g to the financial calendar, o n P h a m e n o t h . . . [as I w a s talking?] to m y f e l l o w w o r k e r , m y c l o a k [ w h i c h i s w o r t h . . . drachmas caught D o r o t h e o s ' eye and?] he m a d e o f f w i t h it. W h e n I n o t i c e d he [took refuge?] i n the prayer-house o f the J e w s . . . L e z e l m i s , 100 arourai-holder, a r r i v e d o n the scene [and gave] the c l o a k t o N i k o m a c h o s the neokoros * ( f o r safekeeping) u n t i l the trial. W h e r e f o r e , 23  I b e g o f y o u , O K i n g , to instruct D i o p h a n e s [the strategos to w r i t e to] the epistates [telling h i m ] t o order D o r o t h e o s a n d N i k o m a c h o s [to h a n d over] the c l o a k t o h i m , a n d , i f I w r i t e the truth [to m a k e h i m g i v e to me] either the c l o a k o r i  239  its value ...  Ptolemy IV (221-204 BCE). The title of the synagogue keeper, neokoros, is the common Greek term for temple warden (Margaret Williams, ed. The Jews among the Greeks and Romans: A Diasporan Sourcebook (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1998), 185, no. 22). CPJ 1.129.  2 3 7  2 3 8  2 3 9  62  T h e existence o f a synagogue i n a s m a l l E g y p t i a n v i l l a g e i n the s e c o n d century B C E i s surprising.  240  A l s o o f interest i s a first century B C E (?) papyrus fragment that records the m e e t i n g o f an association o f grave diggers i n the synagogue: ... A t the session h e l d i n the proseuche ... T o D e m e t r i o s o f the first friends a n d the door-keepers  . . . A n d the ushers a n d the c h i e f o f f i c i a l s  ... o f K a m a x . . .  secretary... to the association . . . w i t h . . . a n d has been incorporated ... o n the c o n d i t i o n that ... association ... the times . . . every year . . . the corporation o f . . . taphiastai  [grave diggers]  . . . future n e w . . . the syntaphiastes  concerns . . . to the secretary a c c o r d i n g ... the a s s o c i a t i o n .  ...  whom  it  24  T h e b u r i a l society appears to have been w e l l organised. It h a d groups o f o f f i c e r s a n d subordinates.  3. Possible Synagogue References: N o t applicable.  4. Problems: N o t applicable.  5. Implications for the Function of the Synagogue: T h e t w o fragments help to s u p p l y evidence f o r the f u n c t i o n o f the synagogue i n regular E g y p t i a n life. T h e first suggests that the synagogue w a s a p l a c e o f sanctuary, a n d the s e c o n d gives e v i d e n c e f o r secular meetings t a k i n g p l a c e w i t h i n the synagogue.  VI. Conclusions: T h e literary evidence p r o v i d e s suggests that S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogues h a d a n u m b e r o f p o w e r s a n d functions. It i s necessary to recognise, h o w e v e r , that the e v i d e n c e represents a w i d e scope o f p o l i t i c a l and ethnic areas i n the G r e c o - R o m a n w o r l d , a n d it  2 4 0  241  Binder, Temple Courts, 239. CPJ 1.138. Provenance unknown.  63  s h o u l d not necessarily b e assumed that references  c a n b e categorised i n three  synagogue groups:  functions  community,  were societal  uniform. T h e and religious  functions.  a. Community Functions: There  are f o u r  different  functions  that c a n b e i n c l u d e d  i n this  category:  (references to) c o m m u n a l assemblies, legal j u d g e m e n t s , the synagogue as the c o l l e c t i o n p o i n t f o r alms o r m o n i e s to be sent to J e r u s a l e m , a n d the f o c u s f o r c o m m u n i t y action. C o m m u n i t y assembly seems to be a n extremely important part o f synagogue l i f e throughout the J e w i s h w o r l d . Josephus offers three examples i n support: i n Jewish War he m a k e s reference to the meeting o f the c o m m u n i t y i n the proseuche  at T i b e r i a s ; i n h i s  Life h e mentions meetings h e l d i n T i b e r i a s a n d h e lists five decrees f r o m the R o m a n government a n d the G r e e k cities o f A s i a M i n o r that grant the p o w e r o f assembly to the J e w s . P h i l o also argues f o r the importance o f a s s e m b l i n g at the synagogue. A c c o r d i n g to Peter B o r g e n , P h i l o s a w synagogue attendance as a k e y to b e i n g a g o o d J e w .  2 4 2  Susanna  also p r o v i d e s evidence o f c o m m u n i t y assembly. Further, a p a p y r u s fragment d i s c u s s e d above m a k e s m e n t i o n o f a meeting o f a grave d i g g e r s ' association at a synagogue. T h o u g h it is unclear w h a t this entailed, it p r o v i d e s definite evidence that meetings t o o k p l a c e i n the synagogue. T h e r e are also a n u m b e r o f references to the p o w e r to pass a n d carry out judgements i n the synagogues. Josephus reports t w o decrees w h i c h g i v e the J e w s o f S a r d i s a n d E p h e s u s the right to decide their o w n affairs. A s d i s c u s s e d above, the decree f r o m E p h e s u s i s especially interesting as it a l l o w s the J e w s to carry out j u d g e m e n t s  12  Borgen, "Philo," 251.  64  against n o n - J e w s  2 4 3  . T h e power  to pass j u d g e m e n t s  i s most  evident  i n the N e w  Testament. Jesus w a r n s the disciples that they w i l l be " f l o g g e d i n the s y n a g o g u e s " . P a u l records that he r e c e i v e d 39 lashes, the c o m m o n J e w i s h penalty. T h e trial o f S u s a n n a i n the synagogue i s further evidence o f this practice. F i n a l l y , the synagogue m a y have been the repository f o r m o n e y b e i n g gathered to go to J e r u s a l e m a n d the centre o f a l m s g i v i n g . T w o o f the decrees i n Josephus r e c o r d the rights o f the J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y to collect m o n e y . A l t h o u g h they d o not m e n t i o n the synagogue s p e c i f i c a l l y , a n edict o f A u g u s t u s suggests that this w a s at least sometimes the case.  2 4 4  A s w e l l , a n u m b e r o f the letters w r i t t e n o n b e h a l f o f the J e w s to v a r i o u s G r e e k  cities f o c u s o n the G r e e k s stealing their donations. P h i l o also writes that the c o l l e c t i o n o f m o n e y w a s a c o m m o n feature o f J u d a i s m at R o m e . T h o u g h the gospel evidence does n o t m e n t i o n the c o l l e c t i o n o f the T e m p l e tax i n the synagogue, it does m a k e reference to the practice o f a l m s g i v i n g there. It s h o u l d b e noted that i n the B o s p o r u s inscriptions the synagogue w a s the f o c a l point f o r c o m m u n i t y action. T h o u g h they freed their slaves i n the synagogue, it w a s the c o m m u n i t y that w a s m a d e l e g a l l y responsible f o r the f o r m e r slave. T h e s y n a g o g u e ' s role i n p r o v i d i n g a f o c a l p o i n t not o n l y f o r the J e w s , but also f o r n o n - J e w s to support the c o m m u n i t y i s further evidence o f this. T h e s u r r o u n d i n g cultures c o u l d interact w i t h the Jews through  their synagogues. T h e y c o u l d p r o v i d e m o n e y a n d b u i l d i n g  materials,  w i t h o u t r e l i g i o u s l y a f f i l i a t i n g themselves w i t h the J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y . T h e synagogue  Ant. 16.168. Ant. 16.164: "But if any one be caught stealing their holy books, or their sacred money, whether it be out of the synagogue or public schools..."  243  2 4 4  65  p r o v i d e d a place w h e r e J u d a i s m a n d the G r e c o - R o m a n w o r l d c o u l d interact. T h u s the authorities b e s t o w e d u p o n synagogues legal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y a n d p o w e r f o r the c o m m u n i t y ,  b. Societal Functions: T h e literary r e c o r d also p r o v i d e s three types o f functions related to the interplay between the J e w s a n d the society a r o u n d t h e m : dedications, t h e i n v i o l a b i l i t y  o f the  synagogue a n d the sacred b o o k s , a n d the rise o f a n t i - J e w i s h sentiment targeted at the synagogue. T h e synagogue as the centre o f d e d i c a t i o n to G r e e k a n d R o m a n rulers seems to b e p r i m a r i l y a n E g y p t i a n feature. It i s o f central importance to P h i l o ' s arguments to G a i u s a n d to h i s c o n d e m n a t i o n o f the c r o w d s a n d F l a c c u s . P h i l o describes g i l d e d c r o w n s , shields, a n d plaques i n the synagogues o f A l e x a n d r i a a n d suggests that o n e o f the m a i n purposes o f the synagogue is to a l l o w the J e w s to thank their benefactors properly. T h i s i s further supported i n the c o n c l u s i o n o f T h i r d M a c c a b e e s , w h e r e the grateful J e w s set u p a synagogue to thank P t o l e m y f o r h i s support a n d to c o m m e m o r a t e their v i c t o r y . T h e E g y p t i a n e p i g r a p h i c evidence also supports this  contention.  A l l o f the synagogue  i n s c r i p t i o n s use the f o r m u l a , " O n b e h a l f o f k i n g / q u e e n . . . " T h e r e i s also evidence f r o m outside o f E g y p t that the s u r r o u n d i n g culture used synagogue dedications as a w a y t o support the J e w s p u b l i c l y . A c c o r d i n g to L u k e , a centurion at C a e s a r e a dedicated a synagogue f o r the J e w s o f that c o m m u n i t y . The inviolability  o f the synagogue i s also attested. A m o n g the edicts that  Josephus records i n h i s Jewish Antiquities, there are numerous protections  for the  b u i l d i n g a n d the text o f the J e w s . A synagogue i n s c r i p t i o n f r o m E g y p t records that the synagogue w a s granted the right to o f f e r a s y l u m . A d d i t i o n a l support comes f r o m perhaps  66  one o f the most interesting pieces o f evidence, a p a p y r u s f r o m s e c o n d century B C E E g y p t , the struggle o f a w o m a n to recover her stolen c l o a k f r o m the protected area o f the synagogue. T h e m o r e sinister side o f the synagogue as the f o c u s f o r societal interaction i s f o u n d i n the reports o f a n t i - J e w i s h v i o l e n c e against the synagogue. It w o u l d appear that the  G r e e k s a n d the R o m a n s c o n s i d e r e d the synagogue the centre  o f the J e w i s h  c o m m u n i t y a n d , b y attacking it, thought that they were attacking the J e w s . N o w h e r e i s this m o r e evident than i n P h i l o ' s reports o f the A l e x a n d r i a n riots i n 3 8 C E . T h e r e the G r e e k s took out their frustrations w i t h the J e w s t h r o u g h the w h o l e s a l e destruction o f their synagogue b u i l d i n g s . H o w e v e r , a n t i - J e w i s h attacks against the synagogue are f o u n d i n J o s e p h u s ' account o f the p r o b l e m s i n C a e s a r e a a n d D o r a . D e s p i t e the fact the dispute w a s not r e l i g i o u s , the G r e e k s f o c u s s e d their attack o n the J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y o f Caesarea b y s a c r i f i c i n g a b i r d i n front o f their synagogue,  c. Religious Functions: T h e r e are also a n u m b e r o f religious functions evident i n the literary m a t e r i a l , b o t h e x p r e s s i n g J e w i s h r e l i g i o u s practices a n d t a k i n g o n l o c a l religious n o r m s . T h e s e i n c l u d e references to T o r a h r e a d i n g , S a b b a t h assembly, a n d teaching. T o r a h r e a d i n g a n d study i s r e c o r d e d i n almost a l l o f o u r extant literary sources. T h e practice seems to have been c o m m o n a n d w i d e s p r e a d . L i k e w i s e , S a b b a t h meetings are w i d e l y attested. T h e y are even w e l l represented i n the nomenclature used b y the R o m a n authorities, w h o designate t h e m , sabbetheion. L u k e a n d A c t s b o t h g i v e some sense o f the content o f these meetings, readings f r o m the T o r a h a n d the Prophets, f o l l o w e d b y some sort o f lecture.  67  F i n a l l y , the N e w Testament documents present the synagogue as a site  for  teaching. In the s y n o p t i c gospels, Jesus travels throughout G a l i l e e teaching i n  the  synagogues. P a u l also seems to do the same; i n each o f the cities o f A s i a M i n o r that he v i s i t s he lectures about Jesus to those assembled f o r the Sabbath. B o t h Josephus a n d P h i l o h i g h l i g h t the importance o f teaching also.  68  Chapter 3 - Archaeology  T h e a r c h a e o l o g i c a l remains o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue c a n b e used to m a k e s o m e suggestions about synagogue f u n c t i o n .  H o w e v e r , the evidence must b e u s e d  c a r e f u l l y , a n d it i s necessary to decide first whether a b u i l d i n g i s a synagogue. I w i l l d i v i d e the evidence into f o u r categories o f l i k e l i h o o d based o n the criteria established i n the  introduction:  buildings  that  are p r o b a b l y  synagogues, b u i l d i n g s  that m a y b e  synagogues, b u i l d i n g s about w h i c h there is not enough i n f o r m a t i o n to decide i f they are synagogues, a n d b u i l d i n g s that are p r o b a b l y n o t synagogues. E a c h b u i l d i n g w i l l b e a n a l y s e d i n terms o f its history, the e x c a v a t i o n , the p h y s i c a l d e s c r i p t i o n , the development o f the site a n d its date, synagogue features, a n d architectural analogies. I w i l l f i n i s h the d i s c u s s i o n w i t h some c o n c l u s i o n s about the f u n c t i o n o f the synagogue that m a y be d r a w n f r o m the a r c h a e o l o g i c a l evidence.  Problems: T h e interpretation o f the archaeological remains o f S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogues i s problematic. T h e r e are not e n o u g h synagogue b u i l d i n g s k n o w n to b e able to m a k e g r a n d theories about their f o r m a n d structure. Y e t n o theory o f f u n c t i o n is v a l i d unless it matches the a r c h a e o l o g i c a l evidence. I w i l l , therefore, use m y d e f i n i t i o n  f r o m the  i n t r o d u c t i o n to analyse w h e t h e r the b u i l d i n g remains w e r e o n c e synagogues. Further, archaeologists w o r k i n g i n Israel face different challenges i n their study o f synagogue remains  from  those  i n the rest  o f the M e d i t e r r a n e a n  basin. Because  archaeologists i n Israel are p r i m a r i l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h e x c a v a t i n g J e w i s h materials, they tend to w a n t to interpret b u i l d i n g remains as synagogues. A n y first century b u i l d i n g i n Israel that offers the p o s s i b i l i t y o f a c o m m u n a l f u n c t i o n is i m m e d i a t e l y accepted as a synagogue. T h e higher proportion o f p o s s i b l e S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogues i n Palestine  (o°\  h i g h l i g h t s this t e n d e n c y .  245  C o n v e r s e l y , archaeologists w o r k i n g i n the rest o f the G r e c o -  R o m a n w o r l d require m u c h m o r e direct e v i d e n c e before they b e g i n to consider t h e p o s s i b i l i t y that a b u i l d i n g m a y b e a synagogue. J e w i s h synagogue i n s c r i p t i o n s , later synagogue decorations, a n d literary records o f a J e w i s h presence i n the area are a l l necessary i n m a k i n g a f i r m i d e n t i f i c a t i o n . O n e c a n o n l y i m a g i n e h o w m a n y synagogues m a y h a v e been u n c o v e r e d i n the G r e c o - R o m a n w o r l d that w e r e m i s t a k e n f o r houses, m e e t i n g h a l l s , o r d i n i n g areas.  I. Buildings that are probably synagogues, a. Delos:  246  a.l. History of the Site: T h e J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y o n the G r e e k i s l a n d o f D e l o s w a s w e l l attested f r o m t h e s e c o n d century B C E . J e w i s h presence i s m e n t i o n e d b o t h i n 1 M a c c a b e e s 15:23 a n d i n edicts preserved b y J o s e p h u s .  2 4 7  The Ecole Francaise uncovered t w o Jewish inscriptions  o n R h e n e a , D e l o s ' b u r i a l i s l a n d , as w e l l as t w o s e c o n d o r first century B C E i n s c r i p t i o n s f r o m a S a m a r i t a n synagogue 92.5 meters to the n o r t h o f the s y n a g o g u e .  248  T h e J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y p r o b a b l y settled i n D e l o s after 146 B C E . W i t h the R o m a n destruction o f C o r i n t h , the m a j o r s h i p p i n g interests m o v e d to D e l o s a n d large scale t r a d i n g f o l l o w e d . D e l o s ' fortunes turned i n the first century B C E , h o w e v e r . It w a s  It is easy to see how this disproportionality could lead scholars to argue for a Palestinian origin to the synagogue. The background information for the synagogue at Delos is based on the reportsfrom:Philippe Bruneau, Recherches, 480-493; White, Social Origin, 332-340; idem, "The Delos Synagogue Revisited: Recent Fieldwork in the Graeco-Roman Diaspora," HTR 80 (1989): 150-1. See the discussion of Josephus above. Discussed above (Chapter 2). 2 4 5  2 4 6  2 4 7  2 4 8  70  attacked b y M i t h r i d a t i c  forces i n 88 B C E a n d b y pirates i n 6 9 B C E . A c c o r d i n g to  P a u s a n i a s , the i s l a n d w a s nearly abandoned b y the s e c o n d century C E .  2 4 9  a.2. Discovery and Excavation: In 1912 a n d 1913 a synagogue w a s u n c o v e r e d b y A . Plassart f o r the E c o l e F r a n c a i s e d ' A r c h e o l o g i e . It w a s situated o n the east shore o f the i s l a n d i n a residential n e i g h b o u r h o o d f a r f r o m the c i t y centre, close b y the alternate h a r b o u r a n d near the gymnasion a n d stadion. U n f o r t u n a t e l y , it w a s b u i l t so close to the shoreline that the r i s i n g tide levels i n the A e g e a n have destroyed part o f the p o r c h area o f the synagogue, s o m e t h i n g that has b e c o m e o n e o f the m a i n areas o f contention. T h e b u i l d i n g w a s o r i g i n a l l y residential, but at some p o i n t i n the late s e c o n d century B C E it w a s apparently converted to c o m m u n a l use. T h e excavator w a s the first to suggest that the b u i l d i n g w a s a synagogue, based o n J e w i s h i n s c r i p t i o n s i n s i d e the b u i l d i n g . It has since been re-excavated b y P h i l i p p e B r u n e a u i n the 1960s a n d L . M i c h a e l W h i t e i n the 1980s, w h o both c o n c u r w i t h the o r i g i n a l e x c a v a t o r ' s analysis.  a.3. Physical Description: T h e b u i l d i n g consists o f three m a i n parts: a large interior r o o m , w h i c h w a s later d i v i d e d into t w o ( A / B ) , a series o f smaller r o o m s to the south ( D ) , a n d a large p o r c h area  a.4. Development of the Site and Dating: T h e excavator o u t l i n e d t w o stages o f construction, though W h i t e has recently suggested that there w a s also a t h i r d stage o f construction w h i c h is not as apparent. T h e  2 4 9  2 5 0  Descr. 8.33.2. See figure 2.  71  first stage consisted o f r o o m A B , 16.9 x 15.09 m , w i t h benches l i n i n g the west a n d south w a l l s . T h e p o r c h area h a d three entrances, a large central entrance (2.2 m ) a n d t w o smaller f l a n k i n g doors (1.8 m ) . S e v e r a l s m a l l r o o m s (area D ) l a y to the south w i t h access to a cistern under the f l o o r o f A B . A r e a C , the c o l u m n e d p o r c h , w a s l i k e l y a r o o f e d portico tristoa, a three-sided r o o f e d p o r t i c o w i t h a s t a i r w a y s e r v i n g as a n entrance f r o m the s e a s i d e .  251  In the s e c o n d stage, w a l l P T w a s rebuilt w i t h m a r b l e s p o i l s f r o m the gymnasion, a n d w a l l S R w a s a d d e d to d i v i d e r o o m s A (7.85 m x 15.09 m ) a n d B (8.22 x 15.038 m ) . W a l l S R f i l l e d the m a i n entrance to r o o m A B w i t h a T - s h a p e , suggesting that it w a s constructed before or at the same t i m e as w a l l P T w a s rebuilt, because there w o u l d h a v e been n o need to f i l l i n the entrance i f the w a l l w a s already b e i n g redone. T h r e e entrances w e r e created between r o o m s A a n d B , a n d n e w entrances w e r e created f r o m A to C a n d B to C . M o r e benches were a d d e d to r o o m s A a n d B , a n d a m a r b l e throne w a s added to r o o m A , f a c i n g the n e w entranceway onto the p o r c h ( C ) . T h e m a r b l e throne has l e d to m u c h s c h o l a r l y i n t e r e s t .  252  The "Throne o f Moses" is  a regular feature i n m u c h later synagogues i n Israel, but the D e l o s usage predates a n y other k n o w n examples b y hundreds o f y e a r s .  2 5 3  G o o d e n o u g h n o t e d that the w o r d i n  H e b r e w f o u n d o n the later thrones i s s i m p l y a transliteration o f the G r e e k , kathedra, so it m a y be that the throne o f M o s e s w a s a m o r e c o m m o n feature than the a r c h a e o l o g i c a l  Mazur suggested that it was a peristyle court, typical of Delian house architecture (Belle Mazur, Studies on Jewry in Greece [Athens: Hestia, 1935], 18-19). White's careful examination of the site revealed a stairway at L to the ocean in the front of the building, however, leading him to argue that it was a truncated tristoa (White, "Delos," 150-1). Further, Bruneau's excavations revealed additional foundation walls that suggested a tristoa and not a peristyle (Recherches, 483). While Binder challenges White's conclusions and accepts Mazur's view, he fails to take into account both the evidence from Bruneau and the function of the stairway (Temple Courts, 310). Among the more interesting observations about the origins of the throne is Kraabel's. He suggested that it resembles the marble throne for the priest of Dionysus in Greek theatre ("Diaspora Synagogues," 110).  2 5 1  2 5 2  72  evidence w o u l d s u g g e s t .  I n 1962, w h i l e e x c a v a t i n g i n the cistern, B r u n e a u u n c o v e r e d a  254  n u m b e r o f architectural fragments w i t h palmettes that seem to have been part o f t h e decoration o f the thronos.  255  T h e date o f the synagogue i s m u c h easier to assess. T h e excavator dated the first phase o f the b u i l d i n g to the s e c o n d century B C E . T h e m a r b l e fragments used i n the s e c o n d phase o f the b u i l d i n g w e r e s p o i l s taken f r o m the gymnasion, w h i c h w a s destroyed i n the M i t h r i d a t i c r a i d o f 88 B C E . A c c o r d i n g to Plassart, at that t i m e the b u i l d i n g w a s first established as a synagogue. W h i t e , h o w e v e r , suggests that the first renovations w e r e done before 88 B C E . H e argues that the partition o f A B a n d the construction o f the stair m u s t h a v e been earlier than 8 8 B C E . T h e r e w o u l d b e n o n e e d to a d d the ' T ' onto the e n d o f w a l l S R i f w a l l P T w e r e already b e i n g redone, a n d there are n o m a r b l e s p o i l s i n S R , w h i l e they w e r e used to e m b e l l i s h w a l l P T . T h o u g h W h i t e ' s argument i s architecturally s o u n d , it is based o n the fact that F i r s t M a c c a b e e s 15 suggests a J e w i s h presence o n D e l o s i n the late s e c o n d century. H e reasons that the group m u s t h a v e h a d a synagogue, a n d because the D e l o s b u i l d i n g w a s a synagogue i n a later p e r i o d , it m u s t h a v e been o n e earlier a l s o .  2 5 6  H i s theory i s p o s s i b l e ,  a n d it m a y b e that this b u i l d i n g f u n c t i o n e d as a synagogue i n the earlier p e r i o d , b u t the existence o f a J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y o n the i s l a n d i s not e n o u g h to p r o v e that the b u i l d i n g o r i g i n a l l y served as a synagogue.  It should be noted, however, that there is a reference to Moses' seat in Matt 23:2. Goodenough, Jewish Symbols, 2:74. Again, it is important to keep in mind that, with so fewfirstcentury synagogues, it is easy to try to force a typology which may not reflect the actual model of the Second Temple synagogue. Bruneau, Recherches, 485. White, "Delos," 152.  2 5 4  2 5 5  2 5 6  73  a.5. Synagogue Features: T h e b u i l d i n g o n D e l o s has most o f the features w h i c h w o u l d i d e n t i f y it as a synagogue. It w a s evidently b i g e n o u g h to h o l d a large n u m b e r o f people. It  was  surrounded b y benches, a n d w a s v e r y near a water source, a fact h i g h l i g h t e d b y the stairway l e a d i n g d o w n to the shore. T h e D e l o s b u i l d i n g also has a n u m b e r o f s u r r o u n d i n g r o o m s , though it does not have a n i c h e . T h e central issue for the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f a D i a s p o r a b u i l d i n g as a synagogue, h o w e v e r , i s adequate p r o o f o f J e w i s h o c c u p a t i o n a n d usage. T h e b u i l d i n g w a s o r i g i n a l l y i d e n t i f i e d as a synagogue, based o n the i n s c r i p t i o n s f r o m s i x s m a l l c o l u m n s . Plassart b e l i e v e d that these w e r e J e w i s h because they w e r e dedicated to the ' m o s t h i g h g o d ' (theos hypsistos), a phrase c o m m o n i n the L X X a n d one f o u n d elsewhere o n D e l o s i n a Jewish grave  2 5 7  a n d o n t w o S a m a r i t a n i n s c r i p t i o n s j u s t north o f the s t r u c t u r e .  258  The fifth  base reads that the dedication w a s epi proseuche, f o r w h i c h t w o translations h a v e been suggested: " f o r the prayer h o u s e , "  2 5 9  or " i n f u l f i l m e n t or pursuance o f a p r a y e r . "  2 6 0  The  use o f epi proseuche as " f o r the p r a y e r - h o u s e " i n one o f the t w o S a m a r i t a n i n s c r i p t i o n s substantiates the first suggestion a n d s i g n i f i c a n t l y strengthens the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f the b u i l d i n g as a synagogue.  a.6. Architectural Parallels: R a t h e r than r e s e m b l i n g other b u i l d i n g s thought to be S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogues, the  Delos building's  architectural  plan  parallels the  buildings  used by  voluntary  Goodenough, Jewish Symbols, 2:61. Bruneau, "Delos," 467. Sukenik, Ancient Synagogues in Palestine and Greece, 37-40; and Frey, CU 1.726. Mazur, Studies, 21; Goodenough, Jewish Symbols, 2:72.  74  associations o n D e l o s .  2 6 1  O r i g i n a l l y , this w a s h e l d as p r o o f that the D e l o s b u i l d i n g w a s  not a synagogue. O n e o f M a z u r ' s p r i m a r y reservations about i d e n t i f y i n g the b u i l d i n g as a synagogue w a s that it r e s e m b l e d large-scale H e l l e n i s t i c houses u s e d b y the v a r i o u s cults on Delos.  In h i s w o r k o n the site, W h i t e c o n c u r r e d , n o t i n g a n u m b e r o f s i m i l a r i t i e s  between the D e l o s b u i l d i n g a n d the b u i l d i n g s o f other ethnic/religious associations. S p e c i f i c a l l y , h e e x a m i n e d the H o u s e o f the P o s e i d o n i a s t s , a business exchange a n d c o m m u n a l r e l i g i o u s structure f o r w o r s h i p p e r s o f P o s e i d o n f r o m B e r y t u s , a n d the H o u s e o f the C o m e d i a n s .  T h e s e structures d i f f e r f r o m the synagogue as they h a v e peristyle  courts, but the o v e r a l l structure o f a large r o o m , separate r o o m s o f f to the side, a n d large court seem to c o r r e s p o n d to the s y n a g o g u e ' s p l a n . M c L e a n suggested that the differences between the synagogue a n d the t w o cult b u i l d i n g s that W h i t e refers to m i g h t relate to use o f space. H e argued that the synagogue w o u l d not have needed to set a n area aside f o r cultic u s e .  2 6 4  a.7. Assessment: T h e D e l o s b u i l d i n g is c o m m o n l y referred to as the earliest extant synagogue, a n d most current writers o n the subject consider it w i t h o u t a doubt to b e a s y n a g o g u e .  265  T h o s e w h o accept the b u i l d i n g as a synagogue m a y not appreciate f u l l y the i m p l i c a t i o n s o f that designation, h o w e v e r . T h e interpretation o f the i n s c r i p t i o n s f o u n d i n s i d e the h a l l is still p r o b l e m a t i c f o r the issue o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue. T h e p o s s i b i l i t y that these w e r e ex voto offerings l e d B e l l e M a z u r to reject the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f the b u i l d i n g as a synagogue. S u k e n i k , w h o h a d earlier supported the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f the b u i l d i n g as a  2 6 1  2 6 2  2 6 3 2 6 4  McLean, "Delos," 192. Mazur, Studies, 18. White, "Delos," 152. McLean, "Delos," 193.  75  synagogue, c h a n g e d h i s m i n d a n d f o l l o w e d M a z u r .  2 6 6  M a z u r argued that the resemblance  o f the v o t i v e bases to s i m i l a r votaries f r o m p a g a n contexts suggested that they c o u l d not be J e w i s h .  2 6 7  In h i s analysis, G o o d e n o u g h also noted the a p p r o x i m a t e l y sixty ' H a p p y  N e w Y e a r ' l a m p s (strenae) f o u n d w i t h i n r o o m s A a n d B . T h e s e consist o f a v i c t o r y h o l d i n g a s h i e l d w i t h the w o r d s "annum novum faustum felicem" a n d date f r o m the first century C E .  2 6 8  b. Masada:  269  b.l. History of the Site: M a s a d a sits o n a n isolated r o c k c l i f f b o r d e r i n g the J u d e a n desert a n d the D e a d Sea. T h o u g h most f a m o u s as the p l a c e o f the rebels' last stand i n the J e w i s h w a r , it w a s o r i g i n a l l y constructed b y Jonathan, a n d e x p a n d e d a n d rebuilt b y H e r o d the Great. H e r o d b u i l t t w o l u x u r i o u s palaces, a R o m a n bathhouse, and t w e l v e huge cisterns o n the site. D u r i n g the J e w i s h w a r , M a s a d a w a s taken b y the Z e a l o t s , w h o h e l d it u n t i l 74 C E , w h e n it w a s f i n a l l y captured b y the 1 0 l e g i o n u n d e r F l a v i u s S i l v a , the G o v e r n o r o f S y r i a . th  b.2. Discovery and Excavation: Y i g a e l Y a d i n excavated M a s a d a f r o m  1963 to  1965. In the first season o f  excavations, he u n c o v e r e d a r o o m l i n e d w i t h benches o n the northwest section o f the  Binder, Temple Courts, 305; R. Hachlili, Ancient Jewish Art and Archaeology in the Diaspora (Leiden: Brill, 1998), 39; Levine, First Thousand Years, 100; White, Social Origin, 332. It is interesting to note that an inscription from Egypt with the word 'synagogue' (Horbury and Noy, Jewish Inscriptions, 20) is considered not to be Jewish as it appears to be a statue base, despite other Jewish indicators in the inscription. It is suggested that it might relate to a Judaizer or to a Sambathic organization (Horbury and Noy, Jewish Inscriptions, 34). Mazur noted that they are no different from those found in the Zeus Hypsistos sanctuary on the Pnyx. She consideres that the request in one of the inscriptions for healing was "not a Jewish custom" (Studies, 2 6 5  2 6 6  2 5 7  Goodenough, Jewish Symbols, 2:73. The background information for Masada was compiledfrom:E. Netzer, "Masada," NEAHL, 3:973-985; E. Netzer, Masada: The Yigael Yadin Excavations, 1963-1965: Final Reports III: The Buildings: Stratigraphy and Architecture (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1991), 402-413; Y. Yadin, Masada:  2 6 8  2 6 9  76  casemate w a l l . F r o m the b e g i n n i n g , Y a d i n considered that the Zealots h a d constructed the b u i l d i n g . T h e excavators f o u n d m a n y coins f r o m the revolt p e r i o d i n the r o o m , a n d the benches were constructed largely f r o m reused architectural fragments f r o m the H e r o d i a n p e r i o d . A f t e r f u l l y c l e a r i n g the b u i l d i n g , Y a d i n i d e n t i f i e d it as a s y n a g o g u e .  b.3. Physical Description:  270  271  T h e b u i l d i n g measures 1 2 . 5 x 1 0 . 5 m a n d faces northwest, w i t h an entrance o n the m i d d l e o f the southeast side a n d w i t h a smaller r o o m (3.6 x 5.5 m ) i n the  northwest  corner. T h e larger r o o m is l i n e d w i t h four tiers o f benches o n three sides a n d j u s t one b e n c h o n the outside o f the s m a l l e r r o o m . T h e benches are m a d e o f d o l o m i t e fieldstones, sandstone, a n d reused architectural  fragments,  272  all c o v e r e d w i t h m u d plaster.  The  structure h a d t w o r o w s o f c o l u m n s - three to the south, but o n l y t w o to the n o r t h because o f the smaller r o o m . T h e smaller r o o m contained remains o f an o v e n , some glass and metal, i n c l u d i n g a b r o n z e b o w l a n d a w a s h b a s i n . T h e s m a l l r o o m seems to have been set o n f i r e ; there w a s a b u r n layer c o v e r i n g the l e v e l where the goods w e r e f o u n d . T o the east o f the entrance to the s m a l l r o o m there is a s m a l l n i c h e about t w o - t h i r d s o f the w a y u p the w a l l . F i f t e e n meters to the n o r t h o f the b u i l d i n g the rebels constructed a miqveh  that  w o u l d have f i l l e d w i t h r a i n water collected o n the synagogue's roof. A n u m b e r o f w r i t t e n documents were u n c o v e r e d i n the structure, i n c l u d i n g t w o ostraka, one w i t h the w o r d s ' p r i e s t ' s tithe' a n d another w i t h the n a m e H e z e k i a h .  2 7 3  There  Herod's Fortress and the Zealots' Last Stand (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1966); Y. Yadin, "The Synagogue at Masada,"in Ancient Synagogues Revealed, 19-23. Yadin, "Masada," 19. See figure 3. The architectural fragments were primarily column drums taken from the lower and upper terraces of the Northern palace villa. Yadin, Zealot's Last Stand, 184. For further discussion of the ostraka, see Yigael Yadin and Joseph Naveh, "The Aramaic and Hebrew Ostraca and Jar Inscriptions,"in Masada: The Yigael Yadin Excavation, 1963-1965: Final Reports I (ed. E. Netzer; Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1989), 32. 2 7 0  2 7 1  2 7 2  2 7 3  77  were also t w o pits 8 0 a n d 7 0 c m deep w i t h portions o f the scrolls o f Deuteronomy a n d Ezekiel  b u r i e d i n them. I n a d d i t i o n , t w e l v e meters to the n o r t h o f the synagogue, a  n u m b e r o f other scrolls were f o u n d , i n c l u d i n g parts o f G e n e s i s , L e v i t i c u s , P s a l m s , a n d  the Songs of the Sabbath  Sacrifice.  214  b.4. Development of the Site and Dating: T h e b u i l d i n g w a s constructed i n t w o stages. T h e synagogue w a s the second stage, but it i s uncertain what f u n c t i o n the b u i l d i n g served i n its first stage. In its first phase the smaller r o o m d i d not exist. Instead, the r o o m w a s d i v i d e d into t w o b y a w a l l that cut w i d t h - w i s e across the centre. T h e w a l l thus created a n antechamber (10.5 x 3.6 m ) a n d a s m a l l h a l l (10.5 x 8 m ) w i t h five c o l u m n s arranged i n a u-shape. T h e floor w a s w h i t e l i m e plaster o n gravel fill l a i d o n the bedrock. Y a d i n f o u n d a large amount o f a n i m a l d u n g under the second, synagogue stage o f the b u i l d i n g .  b.5. Synagogue Features T h e M a s a d a b u i l d i n g w a s c o m p o s e d o f m a n y o f the features listed i n the d e f i n i t i o n u s e d here. T h e excavators suggested that, at 12 x 5 meters, it c o u l d h o l d as m a n y as 2 5 0 p e o p l e ;  2 7 5  it h a d benches b u i l t a r o u n d the w a l l s , a n d there w a s a miqveh  constructed nearby. T h e b u i l d i n g also contained a n a d d i t i o n a l r o o m , a n i c h e , a n d some degree o f orientation towards J e r u s a l e m . W h a t m a k e s the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f the M a s a d a b u i l d i n g certain, h o w e v e r , i s the presence o f clearly d e f i n e d J e w i s h ritual materials. T h e fragments o f scripture a n d the ostrakon w i t h " p r i e s t ' s t i t h e " m a k e the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n certain.  There were parts of scrolls found elsewhere on the site, but none was close enough to the synagogue to suggest any connection. Netzer, Masada III, 412.  2 7 4  2 7 5  78  b.6. Architectural Parallels: There has been a great deal of debate about the architectural origins of the Masada, Herodium, and Gamla synagogues. Originally Yadin suggested that they developed out of ecclesiateria,  legal assembly halls in the Greek world. He cited the  structure from Priene, arguing that its roofed, square shape surrounded by benches fit the Masada model.  276  Other scholars rightly questioned how the Jews at Masada could have  been influenced by such a distant structure. Avigad, for example, suggested that the Masada building should be seen as the archetype of the Galilean synagogue, and that it developed from the basilica plan.  277  Yet, the Masada building pre-dated the western  basilica and had none of the characteristic basilical features such as an apse or a raised area at the end.  Foerster originally suggested that the synagogue plan developed from  the pronaos, the hall or first room of a temple, citing the similarity of the Palestinian synagogues with pronaoi from Dura Europas. More recently, Foerster suggested that it developed from the reception halls of Nabatean Temple courts. In his recent work, Binder develops the Temple court theory, suggesting that the synagogue developed in response to courts in the Second Temple. In his study on the structure of the synagogues, Zvi Ma'oz highlighted one obvious point, which has led most scholars to support the development of the synagogue from the bouleterion  or ecclesiaterion.  Since the benches surround the walls of the  structure, the focus is obviously on the middle of the room.  279  Temple structures have a  different focus; they point towards the cult image. Masada, Herodium, and Gamla all  Yigael Yadin, "The Excavation of Masada 1963/64: Preliminary Report,'7£./ 15 (1965): 79. Hebrew. Cited in G. Foerster, "The Synagogues at Masada and Herodium,"in Ancient Synagogues Revealed, 27. Foerster, "Masada," 27. 2 7 6  2 7 7  2 7 8  79  p o i n t to the centre o f the r o o m . T h e o n l y other b u i l d i n g s f r o m the G r e c o - R o m a n w o r l d that have benches f o c u s s i n g o n the centre o f the r o o m are those f o r c o m m u n i t y a s s e m b l y , n a m e l y bouleteria a n d the ecclesiateria.  b.l. Assessment: It seems evident that the s e c o n d stage o f the b u i l d i n g , constructed b y the Zealots d u r i n g the revolt, w a s a s y n a g o g u e .  280  T h e layout o f the r o o m w i t h benches a n d c o l u m n s  fits w i t h other synagogue b u i l d i n g s o f the p e r i o d , as does its p r o x i m i t y to the miqveh?  u  T h e b u r i a l o f scrolls w i t h i n the structure a n d the ostraka m a r k e d as p r i e s t ' s tithe, the b a s i n a n d b o w l s m a k e it almost certain that the M a s a d a b u i l d i n g w a s a synagogue. A  question remains about the first phase, h o w e v e r .  Y a d i n b e l i e v e d that t h e  b u i l d i n g w a s b u i l t as a synagogue f o r H e r o d ' s J e w i s h associates. H e argued that it resembled the G a l i l e a n type, w h i c h he b e l i e v e d to b e quite e a r l y .  2 8 2  H e hypothesised that  the Zealots chose the M a s a d a b u i l d i n g because it h a d been a synagogue already. H e argued that the a n i m a l d u n g m e r e l y reflected the R o m a n use o f the b u i l d i n g between the Herodian and Zealot occupations.  283  N e t z e r countered the assumption b y suggesting that there is n o reason to c o n s i d e r the o r i g i n a l M a s a d a b u i l d i n g a synagogue, as it h a d n o o b v i o u s parallels w i t h a n y o f the  " Ma'oz, "Typology," Ancient Synagogues Revealed, 40. There are some, of course, who suggest that the building was not a synagogue. P. Flesher, for example, argued that the Zealots would not have built their synagogue on animal dung ("Palestinian Synagogues Before 70: A Review of the Evidence," in Urman and Flesher, Analysis and Discovery, 36). D. Binder, however, pointed to the fact that they had no compunction against burying their scrolls in the dung layer, and that Flesher's comments reflected today's culture more than the world of the first century. See R. Reich, "The Synagogue and the Miqweh in Eretz-Israel in the Second Temple, Mishnaic and Talmudic Periods,"in Urman and Flesher, Analysis and Discovery, for a discussion of the relationship between Second Temple synagogues and miqvaoth. The 'Galilean-type' synagogue is no longer considered to be of an early date. The dating was originally done through architectural analogy, but more recent excavations at Capernaum (see below) and Bar'am (unpublished) have overturned the architectural dating theory, dating at least two of the early 'Galilean type' buildings to the Fourth or Fifth Centuries CE. Yadin, Zealots' Last Stand, 185. 9  2 8 0  2 8 1  2 8 2  2 8 3  80  other S e c o n d T e m p l e s y n a g o g u e s .  284  T h e earlier b u i l d i n g w a s not w e l l p l a n n e d , a n d there  w e r e a n u m b e r o f s m a l l errors m a d e i n its construction, w h i c h H e r o d ' s b u i l d e r s d i d n o t fix. Further, it w a s not plastered w i t h the g o o d quality l i m e plaster used i n a l l o f M a s a d a ' s b u i l d i n g s w h i c h w e r e intended f o r private u s e .  2 8 5  N e t z e r suggested instead that  the earlier b u i l d i n g w a s l i k e l y a stable. T h e layout w o u l d meet the needs o f a stable, w i t h c o l u m n s f o r tethering a n d a separate r o o m f o r storing gear, a n d there w o u l d be a n i m a l d u n g . N e t z e r does, h o w e v e r , a c k n o w l e d g e the u n l i k e l i h o o d o f plastering a stable floor. O n balance, therefore, the M a s a d a b u i l d i n g w a s l i k e l y a synagogue i n its s e c o n d stage. It w a s converted f r o m a n earlier b u i l d i n g i n the casemate w a l l , w h i c h p r o b a b l y w a s a stable, despite the plastered floor.  II. Buildings that may be synagogues: a. Herodium:  287  a.l. History of the Site: T h e ancient fortress-palace o f K i n g H e r o d , H e r o d i u m lies t w e l v e k i l o m e t r e s south o f J e r u s a l e m o n a h i l l 7 5 8 meters above sea level. It w a s constructed between 2 4 a n d 15 B C E to c o m m e m o r a t e h i s v i c t o r y o v e r the P a r t h i a n a n d H a s m o n e a n invaders. A c c o r d i n g to Josephus, H e r o d w a s b u r i e d at H e r o d i u m , b u t thus f a r archaeologists have f a i l e d to unearth h i s tomb. D u r i n g b o t h J e w i s h revolts H e r o d i u m w a s taken o v e r b y Zealots a n d h e l d against the R o m a n army.  Netzer, "Masada," 982. Netzer, Masada III, 411. Netzer, Masada III, 412. The background information for the synagogue at Herodium is taken from: G. Foerster, "Herodium," in NEAHL, 2:618-621; "The Synagogues at Masada and Herodion," Journal of Jewish Art 3/4 (1977): 6-11; and E. Netzer, Herodium: An Archaeological Guide (Cana: Jerusalem, 1987). 2 8 4  2 8 5  2 8 6 2 8 7  81  a.2. Discovery and Excavation: While Franciscanum  excavating  for  four  seasons  on behalf  of  the Studium  Biblicum  i n the 1960s, V . C o r b o u n c o v e r e d what he b e l i e v e d to be a synagogue at  H e r o d i u m . H e dated it to one o f the t w o revolt o c c u p a t i o n s , but w a s unsure w h i c h . A f t e r the S i x - D a y w a r , w h e n the area f e l l into Israeli h a n d s , G . Foerster ( f o r the N a t i o n a l P a r k s A u t h o r i t y ) further studied the synagogue i n 1969 a n d 1970. S i n c e 1970, E. N e z t e r has been e x c a v a t i n g the base o f the m o u n d .  a.3. Physical Description: T h e synagogue adjoins a peristyle court i n s i d e the H e r o d i a n palace structure. It i s a 15.5 x 10.6 m rectangular b u i l d i n g w i t h a n entrance i n the east w a l l (3.46 m ) .  2 8 8  a.4. Development of the Site and Dating: In its first stage the b u i l d i n g w a s evidently a triclinium.  It h a d t w o s m a l l w i n d o w s  (1.48 m ) f l a n k i n g the m a i n entrance o n the east w a l l , as w e l l as doors o n the north a n d south w a l l s . T h e b u i l d i n g w a s p a v e d w i t h opus sectile, a n d l i k e l y h a d 6 c o l u m n s w h i c h supported a r o o f .  2 8 9  In the s e c o n d stage, the n o r t h a n d south doors w e r e b l o c k e d , the w i n d o w s w e r e f i l l e d i n w i t h debris, a n d the m a i n entrance w a s n a r r o w e d to 1.6 m . T h r e e r o w s o f benches w e r e b u i l t a r o u n d the four w a l l s o f the r o o m , m o s t l y f r o m reused architectural fragments a n d there w a s a miqveh added to the site j u s t to the east o f the b u i l d i n g .  -  See figure 4. There is a discrepancy between the excavator's original plan and the one more recently released. In the original, Corbo drew four columns into the plan. In the later version, he added two more. While he does not comment on the reason behind the change, it is clear that two columns would not have been enough to support the weight of a roof, and so the more common six columns should be preferred. For a discussion of the problem see Joseph Patrick, "Corbo's Excavations at Herodium: A Review Article,'7£J 42 (1992): 241245. m  2 8 9  82  T h e most s i g n i f i c a n t p r o b l e m w i t h the b u i l d i n g is its date. A l t h o u g h he wrote that the b u i l d i n g c o u l d be associated w i t h either the first o r s e c o n d revolt, C o r b o preferred to date the synagogue to the o c c u p a t i o n o f the site d u r i n g the B a r K o k h b a w a r . H e d i d not p r o v i d e e v i d e n c e f o r h i s d e c i s i o n , h o w e v e r . B o t h E . N e t z e r a n d G . Foerster h a v e c h a l l e n g e d h i s a s s u m p t i o n . T h e highest n u m b e r o f c o i n s f o u n d b y f a r date to the first revolt, 4 7 out o f the 102 f o u n d , w h i l e there w e r e o n l y 16 f r o m the s e c o n d .  2 9 0  A l s o , as the  S i c a r i i went to the trouble o f constructing a synagogue at M a s a d a , it w o u l d m a k e sense, they argued, that they w o u l d do so at H e r o d i u m as w e l l .  a.5. Synagogue Features: T h e H e r o d i u m structure has a n u m b e r o f the features that w o u l d identify it as a synagogue. In its s e c o n d stage there w e r e benches added, it p r o v i d e s e n o u g h space f o r gathering, a n d a miqveh w a s a d d e d nearby. H o w e v e r , there is n o e v i d e n c e o f J e w i s h r e l i g i o u s usage.  a.6. Architectural Parallels: A r c h i t e c t u r a l parallels w e r e detailed i n the d i s c u s s i o n o f the parallels to the M a s a d a b u i l d i n g above (I.b.6).  a.7. Assessment: C a n the H e r o d i u m b u i l d i n g legitimately be designated as a synagogue? It is s i m i l a r to the structure at M a s a d a . T h e r e w e r e benches added i n the ' s y n a g o g u e ' phase o f the b u i l d i n g , it w a s controlled b y the rebels w h o constructed a synagogue at M a s a d a , a n d it is near a miqveh. T h e r e is n o evidence o f J e w i s h r e l i g i o u s usage, h o w e v e r , a n d w i t h o u t that it is i m p o s s i b l e to say f o r certain. A s m e n t i o n e d i n the a r c h a e o l o g i c a l d e f i n i t i o n section o f the i n t r o d u c t i o n , there is an o n g o i n g debate about h o w to i d e n t i f y synagogues  2 9 0  Patrick, "Corbo's Excavations,"243. 83  i n Israel. D o b u i l d i n g s have to h a v e e v i d e n c e o f r e l i g i o u s f u n c t i o n before they c a n b e c o n s i d e r e d synagogues, o r can it b e a s s u m e d that a l l c o m m u n i t y b u i l d i n g s i n J e w i s h t o w n s are synagogues?  b. Gamla:  291  b.l. History of the Site: G a m l a lies i n the southern G o l a n , set o n a r o c k y ridge that rises 2 3 0 - 3 3 0 meters above the s u r r o u n d i n g countryside. Josephus reported that G a m l a w a s totally destroyed f o l l o w i n g a seven-month siege i n the first revolt. T h e r u i n w a s l o n g b e l i e v e d to b e G a m l a , b u t its identity w a s n o t c o n f i r m e d u n t i l S h m a r y a h G u t m a n b e g a n e x c a v a t i n g the site for the Israel A n t i q u i t i e s A u t h o r i t y i n 1976.  b.2. Discovery and Excavation: In the first season o f e x c a v a t i o n G u t m a n d i s c o v e r e d w h a t h e b e l i e v e d to b e a synagogue a l o n g the t o w n w a l l near the city gate. W h i l e the site is n o t y e t f u l l y p u b l i s h e d , G u t m a n a n d others have p r o v i d e d some material o n the m a k e u p o f the site.  b.3. Physical Description: T h e b u i l d i n g consists o f a n elongated h a l l (13.4 x 9.3 m ) w i t h a series o f r o o m s s u r r o u n d i n g it o n a north-east/south-west a x i s .  2 9 2  It i s l i n e d w i t h benches: f o u r to the east  w i t h a f i f t h o n the p l a t f o r m above, three to the northeast, a n d t w o to the southwest. T h e foot o f the benches i s p a v e d , and there i s a n a r r o w strip o f pavement i n the centre o f the hall,  but otherwise  the f l o o r  i s h a r d p a c k e d earth. T h e r e w e r e  sixteen  columns  s u r r o u n d i n g the r o o m , w i t h four ' h e a r t - s h a p e d ' c o l u m n s at the corners to support the crossbeams. It is assumed that the structure w a s r o o f e d , not o n l y because o f the c o l u m n s ,  The background information for the synagogue at Gamla is taken from S. Gutman, "Gamla," in NEAHL. 2:459-463 and "The Synagogue at Gamla," Ancient Synagogues Revealed, 30-34.  2 9 1  84  but also because o f the large n u m b e r s o f nails f o u n d i n the debris. In a d d i t i o n , there are f o u r r a i s e d p l a t f o r m s s u r r o u n d i n g the h a l l . T h e r e are t w o entrances to the southwest, a w i d e o n e that leads into the centre o f the h a l l , a n d a n a r r o w e r one o f f to the side. T h e r e are a d d i t i o n a l doors l e a d i n g onto the p l a t f o r m , a n d there i s a n i c h e near the corner o f the northwest w a l l . O u t s i d e the b u i l d i n g there are t w o s m a l l r o o m s o f u n k n o w n purpose connected to the exedra at the entrance o f the h a l l a n d three s m a l l r o o m s to the northeast. T h e m i d d l e o f the three i s the most interesting, as it i s l i n e d w i t h benches a n d has a w i n d o w w h i c h opens u p i n the southwest w a l l into the m a i n h a l l .  2 9 3  T h e r e is also a miqveh ten meters to  the southwest. T h e architectural fragments f r o m G a m l a synagogue w e r e decorated w i t h artistic m o t i f s c o m m o n to S e c o n d T e m p l e J u d a i s m . T h e s u r v i v i n g fragments o f the l i n t e l , f o r e x a m p l e , w e r e decorated w i t h a s i x - p e t a l l e d rosette that m a y have been f l a n k e d b y a date palm.  2 9 4  b.4. Development of the Site and Dating: D a t i n g the construction o f the synagogue has l e d to some debate, b u t the date o f its destruction i s w e l l established. T h e excavator believes that the b u i l d i n g w a s b u i l t under J o h n H y r c a n u s II (63-40 B C E ) . T h e r e w e r e a n u m b e r o f c o i n s i n the v i r g i n s o i l u n d e r the f l o o r a n d pottery fragments that seemed to point to a m i d - f i r s t century B C E date. M a ' o z , h o w e v e r , sees the synagogue i n terms o f H e r o d i a n b u i l d i n g p r o g r a m s a n d  " See figure 5. There is still much debate about the function of the small room. It is generally assumed to be something like a Beth Midrash, a house of study. Ma'oz made the interesting suggestion that it might be a women's area, but that seems unlikely given its small size in relation to the size to the hall ("Typology", 39). Ma'oz, "Typology", 39.  2 9 3  2 9 4  85  w o u l d l i k e to p u s h the date f o r w a r d to between 23 B C E a n d 41 C E /  9 3  R e g a r d l e s s , the  large n u m b e r o f arrowheads a n d b a l l i s t a stones testify to the destruction o f the b u i l d i n g under the R o m a n s , p o s s i b l y as Josephus describes it, i n 6 7 B C E .  b.5. Synagogue Features: L i k e the synagogue at H e r o d i u m , there are a n u m b e r o f features o f the b u i l d i n g at G a m l a that fit o u r p r o p o s e d synagogue d e f i n i t i o n . It w a s a large b u i l d i n g w i t h benches a r o u n d it a n d a water source nearby. T h e r e w e r e also a d d i t i o n a l r o o m s s u r r o u n d i n g the m a i n h a l l . L i k e G a m l a , h o w e v e r , there is n o e v i d e n c e o f J e w i s h usage other than artistic m o t i f s that seem to be part o f J e w i s h style at the time.  b.6. Architectural Parallels: T h o u g h most o f what has been s a i d about M a s a d a applies to the site, there are a n u m b e r o f independent features that s h o u l d be h i g h l i g h t e d . T h e b u i l d e r s created a substantial p l a t f o r m b y l e a v i n g a great deal o f space between the benches a n d the i n s i d e w a l l s o f the synagogue. T h e designers also b u i l t m a n y m o r e entrances to the b u i l d i n g at G a m l a than there are at M a s a d a a n d H e r o d i u m . In the case o f H e r o d i u m , a l l b u t o n e entrance to the p r e v i o u s structure w e r e b l o c k e d d u r i n g its c o n v e r s i o n to a synagogue. E a c h entrance at G a m l a leads to a different l e v e l , o n e to the f l o o r o f the h a l l , o n e to the benches, a n d some to the r a i s e d area b e h i n d the benches. T h e c o m b i n a t i o n o f alternate entrances w i t h architecturally segregated space suggests a m u c h less egalitarian i d e a l than the b u i l d i n g at M a s a d a . Further, it is important to note that the G a m l a structure w a s purpose-built. It w a s not a converted b u i l d i n g , a n d some o f the differences m a y reflect the actual desires o f the builders.  Ma'oz, "Typology," 35.  86  b. 7. Assessment: T h e r e i s little direct evidence that the b u i l d i n g w a s a synagogue, b u t the G a m l a b u i l d i n g does have a n u m b e r o f features that suggest it m i g h t have been a synagogue. T h e benches a n d openness o f the b u i l d i n g  suggest that it w a s a p u b l i c assembly h a l l .  A c c o r d i n g to G u t m a n , the l a c k o f pagan m o t i f s suggests that it w a s not j u s t the l o c a l c o u n c i l house. A s w e l l , the n i c h e , the p r o x i m i t y o f the miqveh, a n d the benches a l l f i t with  the other  synagogue  buildings  discussed  above.  T h e existence  of non-  representational art, i n c l u d i n g a b r o k e n lintel w i t h a s i x petaled rosette f l a n k e d b y date p a l m , double meanders a n d s w i r l s , m a y also b e an indicator that the b u i l d i n g w a s a synagogue. T h e p a v e d area i n the centre o f the h a l l also suggests the presence o f a table for reading the T o r a h .  c. Capernaum:  296  c.l. History of the Site: C a p e r n a u m lies o n the northwest shore o f the S e a o f G a l i l e e , four kilometres f r o m the J o r d a n R i v e r . It w a s an ancient site k n o w n f r o m both gospel references a n d Josephus. In 1894 the area w a s p u r c h a s e d b y the F r a n c i s c a n s a n d they h a v e excavated the area e v e r since.  c.2. Discovery and Excavation: In 1 9 2 1 , the w e l l k n o w n fourth o r f i f t h century C E synagogue w a s first cleared a n d restored, but it w a s not u n t i l 1968 that V . C o r b o a n d S . L o f f r e d a began w h a t h a s turned into a h i g h l y contentious e x c a v a t i o n o f the b u i l d i n g . W h i l e e x c a v a t i n g u n d e r the synagogue i n the early  1970s, they d i s c o v e r e d a basalt stone f l o o r f r o m an earlier  The background information for the synagogue at Capernaum is taken from: Binder, Temple Courts, 186-193 and S. Loffreda, "Capernaum," in NEAHL, 1:291-294.  2 9 6  87  o c c u p a t i o n level. T h o u g h there were tentative i n their i n i t i a l assessment, it b e c a m e evident that they h a d f o u n d some k i n d o f p u b l i c structure that l a y u n d e r the later b u i l d i n g .  c.3. Physical Description: T h e earlier structure w a s f o u n d i n trenches d u g into the nave o f the later synagogue b u i l d i n g . D i r e c t l y under the f o u r w a l l s o f the m a i n h a l l the excavators u n c o v e r e d b l a c k basalt w a l l s  1.2-1.3  meters t h i c k ,  cobblestone f l o o r f o u n d under four feet o f f i l l .  2 9 7  w h i c h correlated w i t h a basalt  O r i g i n a l l y the excavators suggested that  it c o u l d b e a private house, but A v i - Y o n a h argued that, f r o m the size alone (24.5 x 18.7 m ) , it must represent some f o r m o f p u b l i c a r c h i t e c t u r e .  298  T h e rest o f C a p e r n a u m i s m a d e  o f s m a l l basalt houses w i t h m u d f l o o r i n g . T h e excavators later r e a l i s e d that, w h i l e the basalt w a l l s travelled a l o n g the same line as the later w a l l , they c o u l d not have been foundations f o r the later w a l l s . E x c a v a t i o n s u n d e r the c o u r t y a r d to the east o f the later synagogue revealed n o s u c h f o u n d a t i o n . A s L o f f r e d a argued, the foundations abutted the w a l l s o f the courtyard, but w e r e not underneath t h e m a n d w e r e m a d e o f dressed stone, w h i l e these w a l l s are r o u g h basalt. Further, Strange p o i n t e d to the fact that w h i l e the later w a l l s sit o n these earlier foundations f o r most o f their course, they are out o f alignment i n the southwest corner. T h e basalt w a l l extended a foot west o f the corner o f the later synagogue.  c.4. Development of the Site and Dating: T h o u g h there are serious concerns about the d a t i n g o f the later synagogue b u i l d i n g , the dating o f the earlier b u i l d i n g w a s not so problematic. Pottery f o u n d under  See figure 6. M. Avi-Yonah, "Editor's Note," IEJ 23 (1973): 43.  88  the floor o f the earlier b u i l d i n g ranged f r o m the t h i r d century B C E to the last h a l f o f the s e c o n d century B C E .  c.5. Synagogue Features: T h e o n l y sure feature that c a n b e taken f r o m the d e f i n i t i o n o f synagogues u s e d here is size. A t 24.5 x 18.7 m , the b u i l d i n g is b i g g e r than M a s a d a , H e r o d i u m , or G a m l a . T h o u g h it i s n o t part o f the d e f i n i t i o n u s e d here, it m a y also b e important that a later synagogue w a s b u i l t o n the site.  c.6. Parallels: T h e r e i s not enough k n o w n about the b u i l d i n g to m a k e a n y statements about possible architectural analogies.  c.7. Assessment: Serious concerns have been raised about i d e n t i f y i n g the C a p e r n a u m structure as a synagogue. It has been argued b y a n u m b e r o f Israeli scholars that the F r a n c i s c a n team f o u n d w h a t they w e r e l o o k i n g f o r - the synagogue w h e r e Jesus taught. It s h o u l d b e noted, h o w e v e r , that the excavators w e r e not l o o k i n g f o r a first century synagogue, a n d e v e n rejected that i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w h e n it w a s first o f f e r e d b y A v i - Y o n a h . Further, it is h a r d to i m a g i n e that so large a b u i l d i n g w o u l d b e f o u n d here f o r a n y private u s e . literary t r a d i t i o n o f a synagogue at C a p e r n a u m ,  3 0 0  2 9 9  There is a  there w e r e t w o r o w s o f stylobates a n d  some c o l u m n d r u m s f o u n d , suggesting some type o f large b u i l d i n g . A d d i t i o n a l l y , i n later p e r i o d s it w a s c o m m o n f o r synagogues to b e built o n earlier remains. U n f o r t u n a t e l y , as it sits o n the later synagogue, a n d as the disputes f r o m that e x c a v a t i o n still rage, it i s u n l i k e l y that the earlier b u i l d i n g w i l l be e x p l o r e d further f o r some t i m e to c o m e .  It should be remembered that Capernaum was a small Galilean village and that all of the houses uncovered from the first century had a mud floor.  2 9 9  89  III. B u i l d i n g s a b o u t w h i c h t h e r e i s n o t e n o u g h i n f o r m a t i o n  to decide i f they a r e  synagogues. a. C h e r s o n e s u s :  3 0 1  a.l. H i s t o r y o f t h e S i t e : T h e G r e e k city o f Chersonesus w a s situated i n the C r i m e a o n the n o r t h coast o f the B l a c k S e a . It w a s f o u n d e d i n the s i x t h century B C E a n d w a s part o f an international trade n e t w o r k c o n n e c t i n g R h o d e s , D e l o s , a n d m a i n l a n d G r e e c e . I n the first century B C E it established close ties w i t h the B o s p o r u s k i n g d o m .  3 0 2  C h e r s o n e s u s h a d a n established  J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y b y the first century C E . T h e r e i s e p i g r a p h i c evidence f r o m a n u m b e r o f J e w i s h graves, m a n y o f w h i c h i n c l u d e J e w i s h s y m b o l s l i k e  menoroth.  a.2. D i s c o v e r y a n d E x c a v a t i o n : E x c a v a t i n g under the auspices o f the B l a c k S e a Project, a team o f investigators f r o m the U n i t e d States, C a n a d a , a n d the U k r a i n e began searching f o r a first century synagogue i n 1994. T h e y h a d f o u n d evidence o f a J e w i s h presence i n the S o v i e t archives o f the first excavations o f the area i n the 1950s, b u t w a n t e d to see i f there w a s a synagogue. T h r o u g h s i x seasons o f excavations the team has b e c o m e c o n v i n c e d that there w a s a synagogue b u i l d i n g u n d e r a f a m o u s B y z a n t i n e b a s i l i c a f r o m the s i x t h century, adjacent to the bath c o m p l e x a n d close to the shore (c. 10 m a w a y ) . It is o b v i o u s that the b a s i l i c a w a s b u i l t o n an earlier structure, o n e w i t h a different orientation, a n d there are traces o f J e w i s h imagery o n the stones u s e d i n a secondary context i n the b a s i l i c a ' s  Luke 7: 4-5. The background information for the synagogue at Chersonesus was takenfrom:Douglas Edwards, "Jews and Christians at Ancient Chersonesus,"in Kee and Cohick, Evolution of the Synagogue; Robert S. MacLennan, "In Search of the Jewish Diaspora: A first century Synagogue in the Crimea?" BAR 22/2 (1994): 44-51; Overman, "Jews, Slaves and the Synagogue,"in Kee and Cohick, Evolution of the Synagogue, 141-157. For information on the Jewish community of the Bosporus see the inscriptions in Chapter 2. 3 0 0 3 0 1  3 0 2  90  construction. U n f o r t u n a t e l y , the excavators have been f o r c e d to excavate a r o u n d the structure, as the authorities d o not w a n t t o r i s k d a m a g i n g a f a m o u s h i s t o r i c a l site. T h e team h a s been m u c h m o r e s u c c e s s f u l i n the R u s s i a n archives. In the f i e l d report f r o m M . V . V . B o r i s o v a i n the 1950s they f o u n d reference to a ' B a s i l i c a F w i t h Greek and Hebrew inscriptions.  303  B e c a u s e o f the p o l i t i c s o f the d a y , B o r i s o v a m a d e n o  reference to the fact that the b u i l d i n g m a y h a v e been J e w i s h , b u t she d i d leave the evidence i n the a r c h i v e f o r later scholars to u n e a r t h .  a.3-6: No  304  information  a . 7. Assessment: A s it n o w stands, the excavators h a v e not yet f o u n d d e f i n i t e e v i d e n c e o f a synagogue b u i l d i n g , t h o u g h they are confident that o n e is present. In h i s latest article o n the b u i l d i n g , J . A n d r e w O v e r m a n r e v i s e d the l i k e l y date o f the synagogue b u i l d i n g f r o m the o r i g i n a l first century C E date to the s e c o n d to the fourth c e n t u r y .  305  It m a y b e , then,  that the B l a c k S e a project w i l l not greatly i n f l u e n c e the d i s c u s s i o n o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e Synagogue. b. C h o r a z i n :  3 0 6  b . l . History of the Site K h i r b a t K e r a z e h , a site 214 m i l e s north o f C a p e r n a u m , i s i d e n t i f i e d w i t h the b i b l i c a l site o f C h o r a z i n .  Overman, "Jews, Slaves and the Synagogue," 146. Annual Report (Minneapolis: Macalester College Black Sea Project, 1994) 5. Overman, "Jews, Slaves and the Synagogue," 146. The background information for the synagogue at Chorazin was takenfrom:Foerster, "Masada and Herodium," in Ancient Synagogues Revealed, 26.  3 0 4  3 0 5  3 0 6  91  b.2. D i s c o v e r y and E x c a v a t i o n : D u r i n g h i s 1926 e x c a v a t i o n o f a t h i r d or f o u r t h century G a l i l e a n synagogue at C h o r a z i n , J . O r y i d e n t i f i e d the r e m a i n s o f w h a t is thought to have been a first century C E synagogue 2 0 0 meters west o f the later synagogue. b.3. P h y s i c a l D e s c r i p t i o n : In h i s report to the Israel Department o f A n t i q u i t i e s , c o p i e d f r o m the archive b y G . Foerster, O r y described the b u i l d i n g  as: a square c o l o n n a d e d b u i l d i n g o f s m a l l  d i m e n s i o n w i t h 7 c o l u m n s , 3 o n each side [sic]. It h a d a n entrance through the east w a l l a n d f i v e courses o f benches o n three s i d e s .  3 0 7  In the 1920s it h a d c o l u m n s a n d three  courses o f benches still standing; h o w e v e r , b y the 1970s, w h e n G . Foerster e x a m i n e d the area, he f o u n d n o remains. b.4. D e v e l o p m e n t o f t h e S i t e and  Dating:  T h e r e is little that c a n be s a i d about the site development, but it s h o u l d be noted that neither Foerster n o r the report he quotes f r o m O r y p r o v i d e s any reason for a s s u m i n g that the C h o r a z i n b u i l d i n g w a s f r o m the s e c o n d temple p e r i o d . b.5. S y n a g o g u e F e a t u r e s : A g a i n , there is little evidence. T h e benches a n d c o l u m n s m a k e the  identification  p o s s i b l e , but m o r e w o u l d need to be k n o w n . b.6. A r c h i t e c t u r a l P a r a l l e l s : O t h e r than the o b v i o u s parallels w i t h M a s a d a , H e r o d i u m and G a m l a (benches a n d c o l u m n s ) , there is little that c a n be s a i d about architectural parallels.  Foerster, "Masada and Herodion," 8.  92  b. 7. Assessment: Further excavations m a y prove the C h o r a z i n b u i l d i n g to b e a S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue.  c. Kiryat Sefer:  308  c.l. History of the Site Unknown.  c.2. Discovery and Excavation: In 1995 Y i t z h a k M a g e n u n c o v e r e d w h a t h e c l a i m e d to b e a first century B C E synagogue structure near the W e s t B a n k settlement o f K i r y a t Sefer. H i s f i n d largely w e n t u n n o t i c e d b y the s c h o l a r l y c o m m u n i t y , media.  as it w a s released p r i m a r i l y  i n the p o p u l a r  3 0 9  c.3. Physical Description: T h e b u i l d i n g w a s f o u n d i n the m i d d l e o f a c o m p l e x that contained some private d w e l l i n g s a n d a n industrial area. T h e b u i l d i n g sits o n a north-west/south-east a x i s a n d i s eight meters square. It has benches w i t h footrests o n three sides. T h e r e are f o u r c o l u m n s w i t h D o r i c capitals o n t o p o f a flagstone-paved floor. B e h i n d the benches there w a s a w a l k w a y s i m i l a r to the synagogue at G a m l a . T h e entrance i s to the northwest o n a facade f a c e d w i t h h e w n stone. T h e r e m a y have also been a gabled l i n t e l w i t h traces o f a rosette etched o n i t .  3 1 0  The background information for the synagogue at Kiryat Sefer is taken from: Binder, 197; Reuters Wire Service, November 20, 1995; Levine, First Thousand Years, 65-66.. It has not yet been published, but Levine describes it briefly based on personal observations and conversations with the excavator. Levine, First Thousand Years, 65-66. Levine, First Thousand Years, 65. 3 0 8  3 0 9  3 1 0  93  c.4. Development of the Site and Dating: T h e structure l i k e l y dates f r o m the m i d - f i r s t century to the s e c o n d century C E . A l l o f the coins a n d pottery date to the first century C E or later. T h e excavator f o u n d a h o a r d o f g o l d c o i n s f r o m the B a r K o k h b a revolt, a n d it appears that the site w a s a b a n d o n e d soon after.  c.5. Synagogue Features: W h i l e the f i n d i n g s are still i n the p r e l i m i n a r y stages, the b u i l d i n g has some o f the features o f a synagogue. It has benches a l o n g three w a l l s a n d is large e n o u g h to a c c o m m o d a t e a s m a l l c o m m u n i t y . It l a c k s any i d e n t i f y i n g J e w i s h features, h o w e v e r , a n d there is n o m e n t i o n o f a water source.  c.6. Architectural Parallels: A c c o r d i n g to the excavator the K i r y a t S e f e r b u i l d i n g r e s e m b l e d the structures at Masada and G a m l a .  3 1 1  c.7. Assessment: T h e b u i l d i n g w o u l d seem a g o o d candidate f o r a synagogue. T h e benches, decorated facade, a n d stone f l o o r suggest that the b u i l d i n g w a s m o r e than a private house, but u n t i l m o r e data is released, little c a n be s a i d about it.  IV. Buildings that are probably not synagogues: a. Magdala:  312  a.l. History of the Site M a g d a l a w a s a G a l i l e a n v i l l a g e o n the S e a o f G a l i l e e . Josephus referred to it as a Z e a l o t s t r o n g h o l d d u r i n g the J e w i s h w a r .  311  Renters Press, November 20,  1995.  94  a.2. D i s c o v e r y and Excavation: F r o m 1971 to 1976 V . C o r b o a n d S . L o f f r e d a excavated M a g d a l a . I n 1975 their excavations turned u p w h a t they b e l i e v e d to b e a s m a l l first century synagogue. a.3. Physical D e s c r i p t i o n : T h e b u i l d i n g i s quite s m a l l , o n l y 8.16 x 7.26 meters a n d oriented north/south. T h e r o o f w a s supported b y t w o l o n g i t u d i n a l r o w s o f c o l u m n s , each o f three c o l u m n s w i t h a n extra c o l u m n f o r m i n g a u-shape o n the south e n d . T h e l o c a t i o n o f the entrance to the b u i l d i n g is u n k n o w n . T h e r e i s a five-tiered b e n c h o n the north w a l l , a n d the b u i l d i n g i s p a v e d w i t h basalt flagstones.  a.4. Development of the Site and Dating: It w a s evident that i n its later stages o f use the b u i l d i n g h a d been a springhouse, but C o r b o a n d L o f f r e d a argued that i n its first, pre-revolt phase, the b u i l d i n g w a s a synagogue. T h e r e are t w o evident stages o f construction w i t h a m a r k e d change i n the pottery a n d n u m i s m a t i c records. T h e first dates to the late H e l l e n i s t i c / E a r l y R o m a n p e r i o d (63 B C E - 7 0 C E ) a n d the s e c o n d to the e n d o f the s e c o n d revolt. T h e excavators c l a i m e d that the transformation r e q u i r e d to m a k e the b u i l d i n g a s p r i n g house m a k e s its earlier usage evident - i n the second stage the pavement w a s r a i s e d to the s e c o n d step o f benches a n d c o l l e c t i o n channels f o r water w e r e added a l o n g the western, eastern, a n d southern w a l l s .  a.5. Synagogue Features: T h e r e are some features that w o u l d seem to support the excavators' c o n c l u s i o n s . T h e b u i l d i n g h a d benches a n d does not appear to have been a private h o m e . T h e first  The background information for the synagogue at Magdala is taken from: Binder, Temple Courts, 193195; Chiat, Handbook, 116-118.  3 1 2  95  p o i n t s h o u l d be e x a m i n e d c a r e f u l l y , however. T h o u g h it w a s not e x p l i c i t , the literary information  f o r benches i m p l i e d that they e n c i r c l e d the r o o m . A l s o , o n a l l o f the  b u i l d i n g s that have been e x a m i n e d thus far, the benches w e r e o n a l l sides o f the r o o m . In h i s analysis o f the b u i l d i n g , D . B i n d e r p o i n t e d to the fact that these ' b e n c h e s ' w e r e o n l y 19-25 c m . h i g h ; m u c h smaller than the average 3 5 - 4 0 c m . H e suggested that they were steps l e a d i n g d o w n f r o m the r o a d w a y into the water.  a.6. Architectural Parallels: See a.7.  a. 7. Assessment: T h e r e are a n u m b e r o f p r o b l e m s w i t h i d e n t i f y i n g the b u i l d i n g as a synagogue. T h e most o b v i o u s is that the architectural arrangement does not seem i n k e e p i n g w i t h a n y o f the other synagogues f r o m the S e c o n d T e m p l e p e r i o d . T h e ' b e n c h e s ' d e s c r i b e d b y the excavator m a y have been stairs l e a d i n g d o w n into the water house f r o m the m a j o r r o a d to the north, the most o b v i o u s place f o r the l o c a t i o n o f the entrance. N e t z e r argues that the b u i l d i n g w a s a l w a y s a springhouse. T h e f l o o r w a s o n l y raised i n the s e c o n d stage because the water table rose i n the first a n d s e c o n d centuries. In fact, i n the excavators' reports they relate that the water f l o o d e d to a depth o f 1.7 m .  b. Jericho:  313  b.l. History of the Site T h e H a s m o n e a n w i n t e r palace n o r t h o f W a d i Q e l t , to the southwest o f J e r i c h o , w a s o c c u p i e d f r o m c.130 B C E u n t i l it w a s destroyed i n a n earthquake i n 31 B C E . T h e r e were numerous stages o f construction, as each ruler attempted to put h i s o w n m a r k o n the  The background information for the synagogue at Jericho is takenfrom:Ehud Netzer, "A Synagogue from the Hasmonean Period recently exposed in the Western Plain of Jericho,'7£'J49 (1999): 203-221.  3 1 3  96  area. It w a s o r i g i n a l l y a large plantation, c o v e r i n g four hectares o f l a n d , w i t h date p a l m s a n d p e r f u m e s , necessitating a d e v e l o p e d water s u p p l y system. It i s b e l i e v e d that the synagogue w a s b u i l t d u r i n g the t h i r d stage, p o s s i b l y under Jannaeus ( 1 0 3 - 7 6 B C E ) o r h i s w i d o w (76-67). D u r i n g Jannaeaus' r e i g n , a r o w o f ten b u i l d i n g s w a s erected a l o n g one o f the water canals, j u s t o n the western fringe o f the palace proper, a n d the synagogue b u i l d i n g w a s one o f these.  b.2. Discovery and Excavation: O n M a r c h 2 9 , 1998, E h u d N e t z e r u n c o v e r e d w h a t he b e l i e v e d to b e a synagogue i n the palace. H i s d i s c o v e r y w e n t out i m m e d i a t e l y across the a i r w a v e s a n d v a r i o u s academic Exploration  lists.  Netzer's  Journal,  preliminary  findings  were  allowing a discussion o f his f i n d .  b.3. Physical Description:  recently  published  in  Israel  3 1 4  315  T h e b u i l d i n g is constructed f r o m l o c a l b u i l d i n g materials, m o s t l y m u d b r i c k o n fieldstone w i t h cobblestone foundations. T h e r e are t w e l v e pillars i n the h a l l , f i v e e a c h o n the n o r t h a n d south w a l l s w i t h a n a d d i t i o n a l p i l l a r to the east a n d the west. T h e f l o o r o f the h a l l i s beaten earth, though the excavator believes that it m a y have been plastered. T h e r e seems to h a v e been some sort o f b e n c h , though it w a s u n u s u a l .  There was a 50  c m h i g h w a l l between the p i l l a r s a n d the outside w a l l o f the h a l l that the excavators believe w a s the outside edge o f a b e n c h that surrounded a l l four w a l l s . O n e o f the m a i n oddities w i t h the ' b e n c h ' , h o w e v e r , i s that it w a s u n b r o k e n a r o u n d the w h o l e o f the r o o m . T h e r e w a s n o break f o r the d o o r w a y to the east; instead steps ascended f r o m the eastern  Despite my disagreement with Netzer over the function of the building, he should be commended for publishing his preliminary findings so quickly. See figure 7. See figure 8. 3 1 4  3 1 5  3 1 6  97  c o u r t y a r d over a n d d o w n into the b u i l d i n g . F r o m the w a y it i s d e s c r i b e d (there i s n o proper p l a n that s h o w s the b e n c h c o n f i g u r a t i o n ) , the effect i s o f a w a l k w a y between the pillars a n d the w a l l s 5 0 c m higher than the area i n the m i d d l e o f the h a l l , n o t a series o f benches a r o u n d the w a l l . T h e synagogue is bisected b y a m i n o r water c h a n n e l w h i c h leads to the miqveh i n the r o o m to the s o u t h .  3 1 7  T h e water c h a n n e l also f e d a s m a l l b a s i n i n s i d e the h a l l . B a s e d  o n the l e v e l o f the channel o n the n o r t h w a l l , N e t z e r has hypothesised that there w a s another b e n c h o n the north w a l l , though there i s n o direct evidence. T h e r e i s also a n i c h e i n the north-east corner o f the h a l l . It measures 1.55 m w i d e and 1.5 m deep, a n d i s o n the nave l e v e l (therefore 5 0 c m . l o w e r than the bench). It seems to have been o r i g i n a l l y coated w i t h l i m e plaster a n d c o n t a i n e d a w o o d e n c u p b o a r d .  3 1 8  The  c u p b o a r d w a s later r e p l a c e d w i t h a fieldstone a n d m u d c u p b o a r d d i v i d e d into t w o sections, the l o w e r 1.55 x .8 m , 6 0 c m . h i g h a n d the upper, larger, 1.55 x 1.2 w i t h a 65 c m w i d e entrance. T h e excavator conjectured that the l o w e r area o f the c u p b o a r d f u n c t i o n e d as a genizah - it w a s d i f f i c u l t to get into a n d w a s c o v e r e d w i t h a m u d arch. T h e larger upper c u p b o a r d , N e t z e r argues, w o u l d l i k e l y have h e l d the s c r o l l s , p o s s i b l y o n a s m a l l p l a t f o r m . T h e r e were o n l y a f e w c e r a m i c objects f o u n d w i t h i n the n i c h e , h o w e v e r . In the t h i r d stage o f the h a l l ' s construction, a triclinium  w a s added to the west o f  the h a l l . T h e h a l l w a s m o d i f i e d f o r the n e w format - the p i l l a r i n the m i d d l e o f the western w a l l w a s shifted one meter to the n o r t h a n d parts o f the southern w a l l w e r e dismantled. T h u s there w a s a v i s u a l c o n n e c t i o n created between the people seated i n the  Though the excavator describes the bath as a miqveh, it should be rioted that it is filled from a regular water channel, not with rain water as elsewhere. As the earlier cupboard was replaced with a fieldstone and mud structure, it is unclear how the excavator is aware of an earlier wooden cupboard. 3 1 7  3 1 8  98  t r i c l i n i u m a n d the m a i n h a l l . T h e floor o f the triclinium  w a s at the height o f the ' b e n c h '  a r o u n d the h a l l (50 c m above the floor o f the h a l l , the outside c o u r t y a r d a n d the n i c h e ) . T h e f l o o r w a s plastered a n d gently s l o p e d to facilitate w a s h i n g . T h e b e n c h a r o u n d the triclinium  w a s 1.4 m w i d e a n d constructed o f fieldstones w i t h l i m e plaster. T h e r e w a s a  w a l k w a y 7 0 c m w i d e a r o u n d the b e n c h f o r f o o d servers. In a d d i t i o n , a triangular r o o m w i t h t w o equal sides o f 2.2 m each w a s b u i l t to the n o r t h o f the triclinium.  It h a d a s m a l l  p o d i u m , w h i c h w a s l i k e l y u s e d f o r c o o k i n g . Interestingly, there w a s n o direct w a y o f p a s s i n g between the triclinium  a n d the triangular k i t c h e n . Instead, f o o d servers w o u l d  have h a d to w a l k t h r o u g h the h a l l o f the synagogue b u i l d i n g , a l o n g the b e n c h o n the west w a l l , i n order to serve those i n the triclinium.  b.4. Development of the Site and Dating: T h e b u i l d i n g w a s constructed i n three stages, a l l dated b y the excavator between 75 a n d 5 0 B C E . In the first stage, the eastern sector o f the b u i l d i n g w a s b u i l t - the c o u r t y a r d and r o o m area. In the s e c o n d , the ' s y n a g o g u e h a l l ' w a s constructed, a l o n g w i t h the r o o m s to the south o f the h a l l . In the f i n a l stage, the triclinium  and kitchen were  added, the western p i l l a r w a s shifted, a n d part o f the south w a l l w a s dismantled. A s m e n t i o n e d above, the b u i l d i n g w a s destroyed i n the earthquake o f 31 B C E .  b.5. Synagogue Features: O n a cursory e x a m i n a t i o n , it w o u l d seem that there are quite a f e w synagogue features that c a n be i d e n t i f i e d . T h e r e is a b e n c h , space e n o u g h to h o l d a group o f people, and a water source. T h e b u i l d i n g also h a d a n i c h e a n d s u r r o u n d i n g r o o m s . A m o r e c a r e f u l e x a m i n a t i o n m a k e s the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n  o f these features as synagogue indicators less  certain. T h e b e n c h w a s u n l i k e a n y others that w e have e x a m i n e d , a n d appears to h a v e  99  been a w a l k w a y rather than a b e n c h . T h e n i c h e i s also different than those at G a m l a a n d M a s a d a , o n a different level than the ' f l o o r ' next to it, a n d quite large.  b.6. Architectural Parallels: N e t z e r ' s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f the b u i l d i n g as a synagogue is b a s e d o n t w o c l a i m s : that it is s i m i l a r t o the synagogue at G a m l a a n d that the b u i l d i n g c o u l d not be the reception h a l l f o r a triclinium. L i k e G a m l a , there are v a r i o u s side r o o m s , it is a large rectangular h a l l w i t h pillars a n d benches, there is a n i c h e , a n d a water channel bisected the h a l l feeding a s m a l l b a s i n .  3 1 9  T h e fact that there are v a r i o u s side r o o m s does n o t seem a  particularly c o m p e l l i n g argument f o r i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f the b u i l d i n g as a synagogue. I f the J e r i c h o b u i l d i n g w a s a reception a n d d i n i n g area o f a h o u s i n g c o m p l e x , there w o u l d also be m a n y side rooms. L i k e w i s e , w h i l e the c o l u m n e d h a l l does resemble G a m l a , it also resembles a n y c o l o n n a d e d structure i n Palestine. T h e benches m i g h t b e a c o m p e l l i n g c o m p a r i s o n , as there are benches a l o n g the w a l l s i n almost every e x a m p l e o f S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogues; h o w e v e r , the benches i n the J e r i c h o b u i l d i n g seem to be quite different. T h e y seem t o f o r m a w a l k w a y a r o u n d the centre o f the h a l l , rather than a sitting area. T h e y are not even b r o k e n b y the entrance to the area, a n d p r o v i d e the f l o o r level f o r the t r i c l i n i u m a n d the k i t c h e n . T h e n i c h e is also different f r o m those f o u n d elsewhere. B y c a l l i n g the area a n i c h e , N e t z e r i s a c t i v e l y l i n k i n g it w i t h the n i c h e s at G a m l a a n d M a s a d a . T h e i d e n t i f i c a t i o n is m i s l e a d i n g , t h o u g h , as the n i c h e here m o r e resembles some k i n d o f storage area than a T o r a h repository - perhaps it w a s used to h o l d the c e r a m i c s for the t r i c l i n i u m  ( c e r a m i c shards were f o u n d i n the area d u r i n g the excavation).  C e r t a i n l y there w a s n o evidence that it w a s u s e d to h o l d s c r o l l s , a n d the a w k w a r d n e s s o f  100  the l o w e r compartment w o u l d argue against a n y regular usage. T h e water c h a n n e l i s e q u a l l y a m b i g u o u s . O n e m i g h t i m a g i n e v a r i o u s reasons to have water brought into the area - that there i s a water b a s i n at G a m l a does not seem a sufficient e n o u g h reason to i d e n t i f y the J e r i c h o b u i l d i n g as a synagogue. N e t z e r ' s argument that the h a l l c o u l d n o t h a v e been a reception h a l l a n d a c o u r t y a r d i s even less c o n v i n c i n g . H e argues that a 5 0 c m d i f f e r e n c e between nave a n d aisles i s u n c o m m o n i n courtyards a n d that the architectural relationship between the r o o m s i s never f o u n d i n reception halls. H i s arguments are b a s e d o n the a b n o r m a l i t y o f the arrangement i n Israel, despite the fact that there are o n l y t w o triclinia k n o w n f r o m the S e c o n d T e m p l e p e r i o d . T o further h i s argument  h e quotes K a t h e r i n e D u n b a b i n ' s  e x a m i n a t i o n o f the development o f d i n i n g r o o m s f r o m G r e e k t h r o u g h R o m a n t i m e s .  3 2 0  H e r article g i v e s n o support t o h i s c l a i m s , h o w e v e r , a n d i n fact p r o v i d e s s o m e e v i d e n c e that the J e r i c h o " s y n a g o g u e " m a y i n d e e d be a d i n i n g area o f a larger h o u s i n g c o m p l e x . S h e says that d u r i n g H e l l e n i s t i c times the entertainment a n d reception area f o r guests w o u l d dominate the layout o f the h o u s e . complex.  O n e could  imagine  3 2 1  a number  T h e b u i l d i n g w a s situated next to the p a l a c e o f tenants  w h o might  require  a large  entertainment a n d d i n i n g area o p e n i n g out onto a courtyard.  b.7. Assessment: C a n the J e r i c h o b u i l d i n g b e i d e n t i f i e d as a synagogue? I f so, it w o u l d b e the earliest i n Israel, a n d a v e r y s i g n i f i c a n t a d d i t i o n to the corpus. W h i l e it i s unsafe to d o m o r e than guess at w h a t the structure m i g h t have been, it i s reasonably l i k e l y that it w a s  Gamla seems an odd basis for comparison, as it is still farfromsettled that the building there is a synagogue. However, as I have argued that the Gamla building was a synagogue, it is worthwhile to address Netzer's points.  3 1 9  101  not a synagogue. It does not fit the d e f i n i t i o n o f a synagogue u s e d i n this study o n a n y t h i n g m o r e than a cursory l e v e l . T h e o d d benches, as w e l l as the use o f the " b e n c h e s " to c a r r y f o o d through the h a l l , suggest that the J e r i c h o b u i l d i n g s e r v e d s o m e other purpose.  c. Shuafat:  322  c.l. History of the Site Shuafat ( K h i r b e t a - R a s ) i s a s m a l l (50 x 50 m ) s e c o n d century BCE agricultural settlement j u s t north o f Jerusalem.  c.2. Discovery and Excavation: A l e x a n d e r O n u n c o v e r e d w h a t he thought to b e a s y n a g o g u e d u r i n g e x c a v a t i o n s i n 1991. It w a s o r i g i n a l l y trumpeted as a great d i s c o v e r y , a n d the early p u b l i c a t i o n details (in H e b r e w ) l e d to a great deal o f interest. T h a t has been f o l l o w e d m o r e recently w i t h a great deal o f s c e p t i c i s m , as details that h a v e been released i n m o r e recent reports to the A n t i q u i t i e s A u t h o r i t i e s ( i n H e b r e w ) h a v e been " e n i g m a t i c a l l y altered o r e l i m i n a t e d . "  3 2 3  c.3. Physical Description: T h e p r o p o s e d synagogue w a s a subterranean r o o m w i t h an o p e n c o u r t y a r d r i n g e d w i t h benches i n front a n d ritual baths near b y . It w a s quite s m a l l , o n l y 4 x 5 m , a n d w a s d i v i d e d b y a l o w w a l l o f h e w n stones. In its synagogue stage there w a s a r o u g h square n i c h e c a r v e d into the J e r u s a l e m w a l l .  K. Dunbabin, "Triclinium and Stibadium,"in Dining in a Classical Context (William Slater, ed., Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1991). Dunbabin, "Triclinium," 122. The background information for the synagogue at Shuafat is taken from: Rainer Riesner, "Synagogues in Jerusalem,"in Bauckham, Acts, 179-211; Levine, First Thousand Years, 68. Levine, First Thousand Years, 68.  3 2 0  3 2 1  3 2 2  3 2 3  102  c.4. Development of the Site and Dating: T h e r o o m w a s renovated to f o r m w h a t the excavators c a l l a synagogue i n the first century B C E . It w a s d i v i d e d i n h a l f a n d the n i c h e w a s added. T h e w h o l e settlement w a s abandoned i n 3 1 B C E , after the earthquake w h i c h also destroyed the site at J e r i c h o .  c.5. Synagogue Features: T h e r e w e r e benches, a water source, a n d a n i c h e f o u n d inside the b u i l d i n g .  3 2 4  The  size o f the r o o m m a k e s its i d e n t i f i c a t i o n as a synagogue suspect, as does the l a c k o f J e w i s h connection.  c.6. Architectural Parallels: C o n s i d e r i n g h o w little evidence has been released, it is i m p o s s i b l e to d r a w a n y parallels.  c.7. Assessment: Though  it  is difficult  to s a y w i t h o u t  any significant  publication  o f the  archaeological reports, the Shuafat b u i l d i n g does n o t seem to b e a synagogue. Part o f the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f a synagogue is b a s e d o n the space f o r c o m m u n i t y assembly. A s m a l l 4 x 5 m . r o o m i n a 5 0 x 5 0 m . c o m p l e x does not seem to p r o v i d e that type o f f u n c t i o n . A d d i t i o n a l l y , there i s a l o w w a l l that runs through the b u i l d i n g .  V . Conclusions: It i s n o w possible to use the archaeological evidence to outline a n u m b e r o f c o n c l u s i o n s about the s y n a g o g u e ' s f u n c t i o n . In d o i n g so, h o w e v e r , I w i l l b e sure not to try to d r a w t o o m u c h f r o m the evidence. V e r y little extant archaeological materials f o r the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue r e m a i n , a n d that w i l l i n v a r i a b l y s k e w the f i n d i n g s . M o r e  In his discussion of the site, Levine notes that the niche and the benches were crudely made, First Thousand Years, 68.  3 2 4  103  importantly,  I began this study b y u s i n g literary evidence f r o m the p e r i o d to define  criteria that archaeological remains need to meet to b e considered synagogues. I n o w r u n the r i s k o f creating a series o f c i r c u l a r arguments i f I try to support the literary evidence w i t h the archaeological record. T a k i n g these considerations into account, there are three aspects o f the archaeological evidence that have a n i m p a c t o n the w a y that synagogue functions s h o u l d b e considered: the diversity o f the synagogue architecture, a m i n i m a l degree o f religiosity, a n d the existence o f s o c i a l hierarchy.  1. Evidence for Diversity of Architecture: D i v e r s i t y o f synagogue architecture seems to b e a central feature o f a l l o f the synagogues e x a m i n e d here. T h e r e are some similarities between a l l the b u i l d i n g s , n a m e l y the ones u s e d i n the d e f i n i t i o n : benches, water source, space, a n d a d d i t i o n a l  rooms.  H o w e v e r , the differences are m o r e s t r i k i n g . A q u i c k e x a m i n a t i o n o f the p l a n s f o r each b u i l d i n g w i l l underscore these differences. E v e n those that have been most strenuously c o m p a r e d ( M a s a d a , H e r o d i u m a n d G a m l a ) a l l contain structural differences. O n e o b v i o u s e x a m p l e is the n u m b e r o f entrances. W h e n the H e r o d i u m b u i l d i n g w a s converted to a synagogue, the builders b l o c k e d u p the t w o w i n d o w s at the front o f the r o o m a n d the t w o extra doors l e a d i n g out to either side. T h e G a m l a b u i l d i n g , o n the other h a n d , h a d a n u m b e r o f doors o n each side a n d i n the front, a l l l e a d i n g to different parts o f the building. Structural diversity m a y suggest some degree o f f u n c t i o n a l diversity. It is evident that none o f the functions o f the b u i l d i n g dictated a strict architectural design. T h e differences i n the b u i l d i n g plans suggest that the v a r i o u s synagogues were u s e d i n different w a y s .  104  2. Evidence for Minimal Religious Features: T h e b u i l d i n g remains also e x h i b i t v e r y f e w e x p l i c i t l y r e l i g i o u s features. E a c h b u i l d i n g w a s oriented i n w a r d s towards the centre o f the m a i n h a l l , rather than towards a storage area f o r the scrolls o r J e r u s a l e m , as w a s the case i n later periods. Y a d i n suggested that the s m a l l r o o m at the b a c k o f the M a s a d a synagogue, w h i c h he b e l i e v e d f u n c t i o n e d as a genizah, w a s the f o c a l p o i n t o f the M a s a d a synagogue. H e argued that its placement directly across f r o m the entranceway w o u l d h a v e f o c u s s e d the attention o f the p e r s o n entering towards i t .  3 2 5  T h e benches a l o n g that w a l l , w h i c h w o u l d h a v e f a c e d b a c k  towards the entrance, seem to c a l l Y a d i n ' s v i e w into question, h o w e v e r . T h e t w o i d e n t i f i e d storage n i c h e s at G a m l a a n d M a s a d a , w h i c h w e r e p r e s u m a b l y u s e d to store the scrolls, d o not relate to the internal structure o f the synagogues either. T h e l a c k o f r e l i g i o u s features i n the b u i l d i n g also has i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r the f u n c t i o n o f the b u i l d i n g s . A solely r e l i g i o u s b u i l d i n g w o u l d l i k e l y h a v e m o r e o f a r e l i g i o u s focus. T h a t the synagogue b u i l d i n g s f r o m the S e c o n d T e m p l e p e r i o d do not seem to have a n y o b v i o u s r e l i g i o u s purpose i n their structure suggests that r e l i g i o u s observance w a s not their p r i m a r y f u n c t i o n .  3. Evidence for Hierarchical Arrangements: A l l o f the b u i l d i n g s seem to exhibit some degree o f s o c i a l hierarchy. T h e D e l o s b u i l d i n g has t w o r o o m s w i t h benches, one o f w h i c h i s interrupted b y the m a r b l e thronos. T h o u g h its f u n c t i o n is not evident, the c h a i r does seem to demonstrate some d i f f e r e n c e i n rank. L i k e w i s e , i n the M a s a d a synagogue, there are f o u r benches a r o u n d three o f the w a l l s , but o n l y o n e b e n c h a l o n g the outside w a l l o f the internal r o o m . G a m l a seems to p r o v i d e the best e v i d e n c e f o r some type o f h i e r a r c h i c a l arrangement. T h e b u i l d e r s  105  designed four separate areas inside one o p e n r o o m , n a m e l y , the f l o o r o f the h a l l , the benches, the p l a t f o r m b e h i n d the benches, a n d the s m a l l r o o m to the b a c k o f the h a l l . T h e separation o f the f o u r areas w a s stressed b y the creation o f separate entrances to each.  Yadin, "Masada," 22.  106  Chapter 4 - Conclusions  A f t e r o u r e x a m i n a t i o n o f S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue functions, as expressed i n the literary a n d a r c h a e o l o g i c a l evidence, it i s n o w p o s s i b l e to suggest some c o n c l u s i o n s about the o r i g i n s o f the synagogue. F i r s t , h o w e v e r , I w i l l r e v i e w the f u n c t i o n s that seem to b e w e l l attested i n the evidence. T h e s e w i l l b e u s e d to evaluate the theories o f o r i g i n established i n the first chapter to see i f it i s p o s s i b l e to break the impasse illustrated there.  I. Functions: T h e evidence suggests a m u l t i p l i c i t y o f synagogue functions. R a t h e r than one set o f purposes, synagogues f i l l e d a great n u m b e r o f different s o c i a l needs w i t h i n their communities.  Regional  diversity  was  especially  important,  with  synagogues  i n c o r p o r a t i n g l o c a l ideals into their practices. T h e functions o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue c a n b e b r o k e n d o w n into three categories: r e l i g i o u s f u n c t i o n s w i t h i n J u d a i s m , r e l i g i o u s functions taken o n f r o m the s u r r o u n d i n g cultures, a n d s o c i a l functions as the centre o f the c o m m u n i t y . A further category, s i g n i f i c a n t r e g i o n a l v a r i a t i o n , though not i t s e l f a f u n c t i o n , stresses that some o f the f u n c t i o n s o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue appear to have been l o c a l i s e d ,  a. Religious Functions within Judaism: E a c h synagogue served its c o m m u n i t y ' s r e l i g i o u s needs. T h e literary e v i d e n c e stressed a n u m b e r o f synagogue functions that relate to J e w i s h r e l i g i o u s p r a c t i c e , i n c l u d i n g T o r a h r e a d i n g a n d e x p o s i t i o n , teaching, a n d S a b b a t h observance. Religious  functions  were  not l i k e l y  the o n l y  feature  of  Second Temple  synagogues, h o w e v e r . It is important to recognise that most o f the a r c h a e o l o g i c a l r e c o r d reveals little o b v i o u s r e l i g i o u s f u n c t i o n f o r the b u i l d i n g s . In each b u i l d i n g , the f o c u s i s o n the centre o f the r o o m w h e r e speakers w o u l d stand a n d not o n the p o s s i b l e storage areas  for the scriptures."  526  Also, instead of temples, the buildings resemble Greco-Roman  council halls or meeting places for voluntary associations. b. Religious Functions from outside Judaism: Synagogues also incorporated functions normally performed by temples in the surrounding Greco-Roman world. In Egypt, for example, synagogues were granted the right of asylum, a power normally given to Egyptian temples; even the architectural terminology and the format of the inscriptions correlated with those of pagan temples in Egypt. The evidence from the Roman edicts in Josephus records similar powers  -  synagogues were made inviolate and allowed to hold and collect money. The Bosporan manumission inscriptions likewise provide evidence of synagogues taking on temple functions. The archaeological record is not very helpful in providing evidence of pagan temple functions in the synagogue. The statue bases discovered in the Delos synagogue resemble statue bases given as sacrifices for healing elsewhere. The implications of the existence of these bases is obscure. Were Jews on Delos engaged in prayers for healing? c.  Community Functions: The evidence for community function in the Second Temple synagogue is  abundant in both the literary and archaeological evidence. Josephus provides a number of references to community meetings. For instance, he describes a meeting of the community at the proseuche in Tiberias and records five decrees from the Roman administration and the Greek cities of Asia Minor, which granted the right of assembly to the Jews. Susanna also contains evidence of the community assembly, as does a papyrus  Though biblical texts were found in the synagogue at Masada, the back room where they were uncovered was not the focus for the synagogue. 3 2 6  108  fragment from first century Egypt, which provides evidence for a meeting of a grave diggers association at a synagogue. There are also a number of references to the power to pass and carry out judgements in the synagogues. Josephus reports two decrees which give the Jews of Sardis and Ephesus the right to decide their own affairs. As discussed above, the decree from Ephesus is especially interesting as it allows the Jews to carry out judgements against non-Jews. The power to pass judgements is also evident in the New Testament. Jesus warns the disciples that they will be "flogged in the synagogues." Paul records that he was punished by receiving 39 lashes, a common Jewish penalty. In the Old Greek version, Susanna's trial takes place in the synagogue, further evidence of the practice, d. Regional Diversity: The evidence also stresses regional variation. Though the religious functions from Judaism seem to be attested in a number of different locations, many of the other functions seem to be localised. Dedicating synagogues to local rulers appears to have been an Egyptian practice, as it is only attested in Egyptian inscriptions and in Philo. Manumission in the synagogue seems to have been limited to the north coast of the Black Sea. Though it may have occurred elsewhere, the high number of inscriptions from this small area suggests that it was a common regional practice. Regional variation is especially evident in the archaeological evidence. Even synagogues constructed by similar groups of Jews, for instance the synagogues at Herodium and Masada, built by the Zealots in the Jewish war, do not seem structurally identical.  109  II. Theories of Origin: I w i l l n o w r e - e x a m i n e the theories o f o r i g i n i n relation to these f o u r categories o f f u n c t i o n a n d suggest that, based o n the evidence o f synagogue f u n c t i o n , the synagogue l i k e l y originated i n the G r e c o - R o m a n D i a s p o r a . I w i l l b r i e f l y s u m m a r i s e e a c h theory, a n d then e x a m i n e h o w the evidence f r o m synagogue f u n c t i o n relates to each. I w i l l n o t , h o w e v e r , consider the theory that the synagogue o r i g i n a t e d after the destruction o f the T e m p l e . T h e b u l k o f the evidence presented throughout m y d i s c u s s i o n has c h a l l e n g e d that v i e w s u f f i c i e n t l y .  1. First Temple Judaism: T h e first theory argued that the synagogue began out o f r e l i g i o u s r e f o r m s i n the First Temple period.  Analysis: It certainly fits the first category o f religious f u n c t i o n w i t h i n J u d a i s m , but does not seem to relate to a n y o f the other three functions.  2. Exilic Period: T h e need f o r a f o c a l p o i n t  for worship  a n d c o m m u n a l activities after the  destruction o f the first T e m p l e a n d the exile to B a b y l o n w a s the impetus b e h i n d the synagogue.  Analysis: A B a b y l o n i a n o r i g i n is supported b y t w o o f the categories. It w o u l d have created a situation o f focus f o r r e l i g i o u s a n d social activities. It c o u l d not e x p l a i n either the diversity i n synagogue functions o r the r e g i o n a l variations suggested b y the e v i d e n c e , however.  110  3. Ezra and Nehemiah: A t h i r d theory places the o r i g i n o f the synagogue i n the T o r a h - r e a d i n g ceremonies f r o m the T e m p l e court at the time o f E z r a a n d N e h e m i a h .  Analysis: T h i s theory w o u l d a l l o w f o r the development o f the synagogue as the r e l i g i o u s f o c a l p o i n t w i t h i n J u d a i s m , but not f o r its c o m m u n i t y functions, influences f r o m outside, or diversity.  4. Pharisaic/Proto-Rabbinic Judaism: T h e f i f t h theory argues that the synagogue g r e w out o f the P h a r i s a i c d i s c u s s i o n s o f legal questions a n d the ritual Sabbath practices, w h i c h created a need f o r a b u i l d i n g to a l l o w f o r the s c h o l a r l y assembly.  Analysis: T h e o r i g i n o f the synagogue i n P h a r i s a i c J u d a i s m w o u l d c o r r e s p o n d w i t h the religious functions o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue, but not w i t h a n y o f the other categories.  5. Greco-Roman Diaspora: T h e earliest evidence comes f r o m the G r e c o - R o m a n D i a s p o r a a n d so this theory suggests that the synagogue l i k e l y developed there out o f the need o f c o m m u n i t i e s to m a i n t a i n their traditions w h i l e interacting w i t h the s u r r o u n d i n g c o m m u n i t y .  Analysis: A G r e c o - R o m a n o r i g i n corresponds w i t h the evidence o f functions o u t l i n e d i n this d i s c u s s i o n . T h e r e w o u l d be a n e e d f o r J e w i s h religious functions, as the J e w s i n the G r e e k w o r l d w o u l d have to continue their traditions w h i l e i m m e r s e d i n the larger context  ill  o f the G r e e k culture. T h e y w o u l d also, h o w e v e r , have been i n f l u e n c e d b y the n e e d f o r s o c i a l functions practised at l o c a l pagan temples. W h e t h e r the J e w s o f the D i a s p o r a w a n t e d to free a slave o r c l a i m a s y l u m , they needed their r e l i g i o u s b u i l d i n g to take o n the functions o f the religious b u i l d i n g s o f those a r o u n d them. A s the J e w s i n the D i a s p o r a h a d their o w n legal status i n E g y p t a n d i n the R o m a n w o r l d , they w o u l d have also needed the synagogue to meet the c o m m u n i t y  needs, s u c h as d i s p e n s i n g justice. F i n a l l y , a  gradual g r o w t h related m o r e to l o c a l pressures than a religious c r i s i s w o u l d account f o r the diversity o f f o r m a n d f u n c t i o n seen i n this investigation. In c o n c l u s i o n , therefore,  the a c c u m u l a t e d evidence f o r the functions  o f the  synagogue corresponds most closely w i t h the suggestion that the synagogue originated i n the G r e c o - R o m a n w o r l d .  III. Areas for Further Study: 1. A r c h a e o l o g i c a l : T h e most pressing issue i n the archaeology o f the S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue i s the l a c k o f evidence. W i t h so f e w archaeological remains it i s d i f f i c u l t to d r a w m a n y c o n c l u s i o n s about synagogue o r i g i n s o r functions. C h o r a z i n s h o u l d be e x a m i n e d f o r a n y traces o f the p o s s i b l e S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogue a n d excavated. M o r e importantly, w o r k s h o u l d be done to determine i f there i s a n y g e o g r a p h i c a l correlation a m o n g S e c o n d T e m p l e synagogues. F r o m the evidence, it i s apparent that they need to be b u i l t near water. Further, L e e L e v i n e has taken the remains o f the synagogues near the city gates at G a m l a , M a s a d a a n d H e r o d i u m as a p o s s i b l e s i g n i f i e r that they m a y b e related to meetings h e l d at the city gates, at least i n Palestine. P e r h a p s a s i m i l a r geographical e x a m i n a t i o n c o u l d be done f o r synagogues outside Israel. F o r e x a m p l e , the synagogues at D e l o s a n d  112  O s t i a are b o t h outside the gates b y the sea shore. A c c o r d i n g to A c t s , P a u l went l o o k i n g for the synagogue at P h i l l i p i outside the city gates. It m a y be that this e v i d e n c e c o u l d be gathered to create a p o s s i b l e guide to the geographic l o c a t i o n o f synagogues b y t o w n planners.  2.  Literary: O n e o f the issues that featured p r o m i n e n t l y  i n this d i s c u s s i o n w a s r e g i o n a l  diversity. S i n c e the early part o f the century, scholarship has been f o c u s s e d o n t r y i n g to understand the development o f the synagogue i n terms o f a g l o b a l f r a m e w o r k . S c h o l a r s have done excellent w o r k o n r e g i o n a l i s m i n other areas o f J e w i s h studies, f o r e x a m p l e , A r y e h K a s h e r ' s e x a m i n a t i o n o f J e w s i n E g y p t . Perhaps a s i m i l a r e x a m i n a t i o n f o c u s e d solely o n synagogues w o u l d be a w o r t h w h i l e  endeavour. A  discussion o f regional  differences i n synagogues m a y h e l p to e x p l a i n h o w J e w s i n different areas o f the G r e c o R o m a n w o r l d interacted w i t h e a c h other. An  area o f further interest w o u l d be an e x a m i n a t i o n o f the effects o f  the  destruction o f the T e m p l e o n the synagogue i n the G r e c o - R o m a n w o r l d . T h o u g h this study f o l l o w e d c o n v e n t i o n b y strictly differentiating between the S e c o n d T e m p l e p e r i o d a n d the post-destruction w o r l d , it m a y be that there w a s a lesser effect than i m a g i n e d . Perhaps an e x a m i n a t i o n o f the synagogues before and soon after w o u l d h e l p to reveal whether there w e r e any r a d i c a l changes.  113  Figures  Term Synagoge  Source  Occurrences  Inscriptions  2 (building), 7 (congregation), 1 (uncertain)  Papyri Josephus Philo New Testament Proseuche, Proseucha  1 (congregation) 5 (building), 1 (uncertain) 1 (building) 19 (building), 1 (congregation), 33 (uncertain)  Inscriptions  20  Papyri  5  3 Mace  I  Josephus  5  Philo  19  New Testament  2  Proseuklerion  Philo  1  Synagogion  Philo  2  3 Mace  1  Josephus  7 (2 uncertain)  Hieron  Hieros Peribolos Didaskaleion Topos  Amphithealron Oikos  Philo  3  Inscriptions  1  Philo .  1  Philo 3 Mace  5 . 2  Josephus  5  Philo  1  Inscriptions  4  Inscriptions  1  Philo  1  Oikema  Josephus  2  Sabbaleion  Josephus  1  Semneion  Philo  1  Figure 1: Greek and Latin Terms Used of the Second Temple Synagogue. (D. Binder, Temple Courts, 152).  A  r ^1  11 ••r.W.\t.'&:  Figure 2: Delos Plan. (D. Binder, ''http://www.smu.edu/~dbinder/delos.html,'' accessed June 26, 2000).  i  Figure 3: Masada Plan. (D. Binder, "http://www.smu.edu/~dbinder/masada.html," accessed June 26, 2000).  115  i  II  i  I  i  , -i  l  i  1  Figure 4: Herodium Plan. (D. Binder, "http://www.smu.edu/~dbinder/herodium.html," accessed June 26, 2000).  Figure 5: Gamla Plan. (D. Binder, "http://www.smu.edu/~dbinder/photo.html," accessed June 26, 2000).  116  Figure 6: Capernaum Plan. (D. Binder, "http://www.smu.edu/~dbinder/capernau.html," accessed June 26, 2000.  Figure 7: Jericho Plan with three stages. (D. Binder, "http://www.smu.edu/~dbinder/jericho.html," accessed July 12, 2000).  118  Works Cited  A p p l e b a u m , S . Jews and Greeks in Ancient Cyrene. L e i d e n : E . J . B r i l l , 1979. A t t r i d g e , H a r o l d . " J o s e p h u s a n d H i s W o r k s . 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