Remains of Jesus-era synagogue found in Israel
September 11, 2009 - 10:09PM
The remains of a 2,000-year-old synagogue where Jesus may have preached
were found on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, archaeologists said on
The synagogue, one of the oldest ever found, was unearthed at Migdal,
which Christians believe to be the birthplace of Mary Magdalene, a
leading follower of Jesus.
"It is possible that Jesus had preached in this synagogue since Migdal
was an important Jewish city at the time," excavations director Dina
Abshalom-Gorni, who led the dig, told AFP.
Jesus did much of his preaching on the shores of the Sea of Galilee,
also known as Lake Kinneret, where Christians believe he performed
Archaeologists were particularly excited by the discovery of an imprint
depicting the menorah -- a seven-branched candelabrum -- from the Jewish
Second Temple destroyed in 70 AD during the Roman siege of Jerusalem.
Abshalom-Gorni said the imprint was one of only four such reproductions
known to exist.
"The artist apparently went to Jerusalem to see with his own eyes this
sacred candelabra," she said.
The synagogue built sometime between 50 BC and 100 AD is one of only
seven known to date back to the Second Temple period.
Its 120-square-metre (143-square-yard) main hall has a mosaic floor and
a square stone adorned with the menorah set atop a pedestal with a
triangular base, which is flanked on either side by amphoras, the
antiquities department said.
© 2009 AFP
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