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Early And Late Synagogues At Nabratein In Upper Galilee: Regional And Other Considerations

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Chapter Summary

The completion of the final report on the excavations at Nabratein in Upper Galilee conducted in 1980 and 19811 is the right occasion to reflect on the state of ancient synagogue studies as they relate to the history of the land of Israel in the Roman and Byzantine eras. The main example of a second century synagogue in Galilee is the oldest synagogue at Nabratein, what the excavators call Synagogue 1. The most curious aspect of the history of Nabratein is its apparent abandonment around 363 C.E. and its resettlement in the mid-sixth century, with the rededication of the last synagogue at the site, Synagogue 3, taking place in 564 C.E. The existence of a Torah Shrine in the third and early fourth century six-column basilica attests the centrality of Scripture not just in the liturgical life of the synagogue but in the life of the community as well.

Keywords: ancient synagogue; Nabratein; Torah shrine; Upper Galilee



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