This book brings together leading experts in the field of ancient synagogue studies to discuss the current issues and emerging trends in the study of synagogues in ancient Palestine. Divided into four thematic units, the different contributions apply archaeological, textual, historical and art historical methodologies to questions related to ancient synagogues.
Part One addresses issues related to the origins and early development of synagogues up to 200 CE. The contributions provide different explanations to the alleged lack of evidence for synagogues built in the second and third centuries CE and ask how much continuity or change there is between the late Second Temple and late Roman / early Byzantine synagogues. Part Two deals with architecture and dating of ancient synagogues. It gives an overview of all synagogues found so far, approaches the dating of Galilean synagogues in the light of the recently-exposed synagogue at Huqoq, and provides a stylistic re-evaluation of the Capernaum synagogue decoration.
Articles in Part Three examine leadership, power and daily life in local synagogue communities by illustrating issues such as non-monumental inscriptions, priests, meals, public debates, religious competition, and the existence of house-synagogues. Part Four contextualizes synagogue art. An overview of synagogue art in late antique Palestine is complemented with reinterpretations of the mosaics in the Japhi¿a and Beth Alpha synagogues and a discussion of the appearance of the Menorah in late antique Jewish art.
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