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I The Synagogue

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Chapter Summary

The Jerusalem Temple and the synagogue are the two important institutions which distinguish Judaism. The Jerusalem Temple was the focal point for the Jewish nation, the centre for worship, and the place where the political, economic and spiritual affairs of world Jewry were discussed and determined. The Second Temple conformed with the First Temple of biblical Israel in its main religious and architectural features. The word synagogue appears in an important piece of epigraphic evidence, the Greek inscription of Theodotos, found on Mount Ophel in Jerusalem. Synagogue was used exclusively for Jewish edifices, while proseuchai, in the Hellenistic world, referred also to pagan loyalty shrines. Synagogues generally belonged to a local community and were governed by three representatives:(1) the archisynagogus (Rosh ha-knesset) - the president; (2) the receiver of alms, who was a civic official; and (3) the minister (hazzan).

Keywords: Jerusalem Temple; Hellenistic world; pagan loyalty shrine; proseuchai; Second Temple



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