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Chapter Summary

This conclusory chapter deals with re-examination of the archaeological evidence for ancient synagogues in Palestine to demonstrate that the building of synagogues from the late-fourth to mid-sixth centuries did not decline under the emerging power and influence of the Byzantine Empire, but blossomed along with the growing economy of the country. After a discussion of the evidence for dating ancient structures, it addresses the question of what might have been the cause of diversity in synagogue architecture. Archaeological excavation of synagogues has been a boon for answering questions concerning Jews and prayer after the destruction of the Temple. A rationale for major changes to synagogue planning and furnishing was not solely a pragmatic means to solve logistic problems, but rather it reflected the underlying rivalry and competition between Jews and Christians for religious credibility and respectability.

Keywords: ancient synagogues; archaeological evidence; Christians; Palestine; Temple



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