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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