Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Bonus 106 - Magdala Synagogue

Magdala is the name of ancient town located
on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Public Domain. Photo by Hanay

During the excavation (1971-1977) at Migdal or Migdol 1. (Heb. “tower,” Khirbet Medjdel, biblical Magdala; Joshua 19.3; “Tarichææ” Josephus Life 157; JW 2.21.8; 3.9.7–3.10.5; Pliny Nat. Hist. 5.15; Strabo Geogr. 16.2.45; Migdal of the Talmud i.e., Nûnnaya “Tower of Fish,” b. Pesaḥ. 46b; Seb’aiya “Tower of Dyers” y. Taʿan. 69a) 2. on the northwestern shores of the Sea of Galilee, Virgilio Corbo, of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in Jerusalem, uncovered the cardo maximus (main street) and a Jewish synagogue from the first century AD. 3.  This is the hometown of Mary Madalene, one of the followers of Jesus (Matt 27:56; Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2 and John 20:18) and it is believed that Jesus visited this synagogue.
Stone with Menorah that was found in the Archaeological
site inside the Synagogue area, Magdala, Galilee.
Public Domain. Photo by Hanay

Image of Magdala synagogue from the air.

Recently more work in 2007-Present (The Madala Project) 4
. was carried out under the direction of Stefano de Luca (Studium Biblicum Franciscanum), on the synagogue revealing an amazingly well preserved structure, along with first century mosaics, painted plaster and some of the best preserved miqveh (ritual baths). 5.  However, it is not the first synagogue discovered where Jesus walked and taught. The synagogue in Capernaum, just to the north of Migdal is one of the first synagogue discovered, 6.  although only the foundation is from the first century. The Magdala synagogue is certainly more complete with wonderful mosaics and pulpit for the Torah with the oldest preserved Menorah on a religious structure.

There are presently four early first century synagogues in Israel, Masada, Herodium, Gamla, and now Magdala. 7.


Video News clip from 2014

Footnotes

  •  1. Migdol is also mentioned in the Nazareth inscription discovered at Caesarea. Michael Avi-Yonah, “The Caesarea Inscription of the Twenty-Four Priestly Courses,” in The Teacher’s Yoke: Studies in Memory of Henry Trantham, ed. E. Jerry Vardaman, James Leo Garrett, and J. B. Adair (Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 1964), 46–57;  Jack Finegan, The Archeology of the New Testament: The Life of Jesus and the Beginning of the Early Church, Revised (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2014), 46, 81.
  • 2. James F. Strange, “Magdala,” ed. David Noel Freedman et al., The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (New York, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1996): 4.464.
  • 3. Virgilio C. Corbo, “Scavi archeologici a Magdala (1971-1973)” Studii Biblici Franciscani Liber Annuas 24 (1974) 5-37; “La  mini-synagogue de Magdala,” Le Monde De La Bible 57 1989: 15; Corbo, Virgilio C. “La città romana di Magdala. Rapporto preliminare dopo la IV campagna di scavo: 1/10-8/12/1975”, Studia Hierosolymitana in onore di B. Bagatti, 1: Studi archeologici (SBF Collectio Maior 22), Jerusalem, (1976): 371.
  • 4. The Magdala Project: Galilean Archaeology, June 27, 2011, 
  • 5. Jürgen K. Zangeberg, “Archaeological News from the Galilee: Tiberias, Magdala and Rural Galilee,The Magdala Project: Galilean Archaeology, June 27, 2011.
  • 6. Virgilio C. Corbo , “La synagogue du centurion à Capharnaüm” in Le Monde de la Bible, 57 (1989), 16-17.
  • 7.  Lee I. Levine, ed., Ancient Synagogues Revealed (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1981), 26, 30-41.

For Further Study

  • Aviam, Mordechai. “Magdala.” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, edited by Eric M. Meyers, 3:399–400. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Avi-Yonah, Michael. “The Caesarea Inscription of the Twenty-Four Priestly Courses.” In The Teacher’s Yoke: Studies in Memory of Henry Trantham, edited by E. Jerry Vardaman, James Leo Garrett, and J. B. Adair, 46–57. Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 1964.
  • Bonnie, Rick, and Julian Richard. “Building D1 at Magdala Revisited in the Light of Public Fountain Architecture in the Late-Hellenistic East.” Israel Exploration Journal  62 (2012): 71–88.
  • Bagatti, Bellarmino. “Magdala, Patria di maria Maddalena” in Antichi Villaggi Cristiani Di Galilea. Studio Biblico Francescano. Collezione Minore 13. Jerusalem, Israel: Tipografia Dei PP. Francescani, 1971, 80-83.
  • Corbo, Virgilio C. “Scavi Archeologici a Magdala (1971-1973).” Studii Biblici Franciscani Liber Annuas 24 (1974): 5–37.
  • Corbo, Virgilio C. “La  mini-synagogue de Magdala,” Le Monde De La Bible 57 1989: 15.
  • Corbo, Virgilio C. “La città romana di Magdala. Rapporto preliminare dopo la IV campagna di scavo: 1/10-8/12/1975”, Studia Hierosolymitana in onore di B. Bagatti, 1: Studi archeologici (SBF Collectio Maior 22), Jerusalem, (1976): 355-378.
  • Corbo, Virgilio C. “Découvertes à Magdala”, La Terre Sainte, (1974) 283-287
  • Finegan, Jack “Magdala” in The Archeology of the New Testament: The Life of Jesus and the Beginning of the Early Church, Revised (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2014), 81-83.
  • Kopp, Clemens. “Christian Sites around the Sea of Galilee: IV. Magdala,” in Dominican Studies 3 (1950), 344-350.
  • Reed, Jonathan L. Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus: A Re-Examination of the Evidence. New York, N.Y.: Continuum International, 2002.
  • Strange, James F. “Magdala.” Edited by David Noel Freedman, Gary A. Herion, David F. Graf, and John David Pleins. Anchor Bible Dictionary. New York, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1996. 463-464.

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