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Jewish Temples Outside Jerusalem

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Chapter Summary

This chapter gathers the primary source material on the early synagogues up through the Second Century C. E. Each entry contains bibliographic citations and interpretative comments. In rendering judgements on the existence of Jewish temples outside of Jerusalem, an important consideration is the degree of cultic centralisation before and during the exile. If such centralisation occurred only after the exile, Ezra 8: 17 could be interpreted as one step towards the implementation of this religio-political program. It is instructive to compare this situation with the evidence from Egypt, where multiple Jewish temples existed in different periods up to 74 C.E., when the Leontopolis temple was destroyed. The Jewish temple in Leontopolis is mentioned in several passages in Josephus and is discussed at some length in rabbinic writings, where it is accorded limited legitimacy.

Keywords: early synagogues; Jerusalem; Jewish temples



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