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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: March 2008

20 - Jewish archaeology in late antiquity: art, architecture, and inscriptions

Summary
The appearance of Jewish art, architecture, and inscriptions increased enormously in the course of antiquity. This chapter describes the most significant remains of Jewish art and architecture from late antiquity. The evidence finds expression primarily in two public frameworks, namely cemeteries and synagogues. Although funerary remains have been found at a number of sites in late Roman and Byzantine Palestine, the most significant and best-preserved are from the necropolis of Bet Shearim. For the first time in the Land of Israel, many depictions of Jewish symbols, particularly the menorah and less frequently the Torah ark are found. Hundreds of inscriptions were found in Jewish catacombs, almost 80 percent in Greek and the remainder in Hebrew with a smattering of Aramaic and Palmyrene. The post-70 development of the synagogue, a Jewish institution par excellence, provided opportunities for creating unique Jewish architectural models. The material culture presents a clear idea of the location and parameters of Jewish settlement at late Roman period.
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The Cambridge History of Judaism
  • Online ISBN: 9781139055130
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521772488
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