Architectural Development of Ancient Galilean Synagogues

Architectural Development of Ancient Galilean Synagogues

March 9, 2022
8:00 PM

Architectural Development of Ancient Galilean Synagogues
Wednesday, March 9, 2022, at 8 pm Eastern via Zoom

Paul Flesher

In the first six centuries CE, Galilee was a vibrant center for the religious and demographic growth of Judaism. It thus provides a prime laboratory for studying the architectural development of the early synagogue, especially as it became Judaism’s primary religious structure after the Jerusalem Temple’s destruction in 70 CE.

Archaeological excavations have unearthed four different architectural styles of synagogues common during this time, from the early, open-center layout of Jesus’ time to the basilica styles widespread later in this period.

It turns out that as synagogue architecture developed away from the early, open-center plan, each new style enhanced the ability of the audience to hear the reading of Scripture—a primary ritual activity. This presentation will show how the synagogue increasing became a building custom-designed for hearing the Scripture reading.

Paul Flesher, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Wyoming


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