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The Delos Synagogue Revisited Recent Fieldwork in the Graeco-Roman Diaspora*

  • L. Michael White (a1)

Recent studies and archaeological work have focused attention once again on an old problem—the origins and development of the synagogue—by bringing two sides of the issue to light. On the one hand, some studies have reconsidered theories of synagogue origins in the Babylonian, Persian, or Hellenistic periods. The result is that several traditional assumptions typified in the works of Julian Morgenstern, Solomon Zeitlin, George Foot Moore, and Louis Finkelstein have been questioned. The question of origins has come to rest on the Palestinian setting and on the nature of the “synagogue” not as institution in the later Talmudic sense, but as “assembly.” There is no clear archaeological evidence for synagogue buildings from Second Temple Palestine. Only after 70 CE and the destruction of the Temple, did it emerge as the central institution of Pharisaic-Rabbinic Judaism.

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Martin Hengel , Judaism and Hellenism: Studies in Their Encounter in Palestine during the Early Hellenistic Period (trans. J. Bowden ; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1974)

P. Bruneau , “‘Les Israelites de Délos’ et la juiverie délienne,” BCH 106 (1982) 465504

Marie Françoise Baslez , “Déliens et étrangers domicilés à Délos (166 – 155), ”REG 89 (1976) 343–60

The Jewish People in the First Century (ed. Safrai and Stern ; 2 vols.; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1974) 1.438–45.

A. T. Kraabel , “The Disappearance of the ‘God-Fearers,’ “Numen 28 (1981) 113–26

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Harvard Theological Review
  • ISSN: 0017-8160
  • EISSN: 1475-4517
  • URL: /core/journals/harvard-theological-review
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