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Re: [XTalk] Kee on Synagogues

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    ... But what manumission documents we have are from the Diaspora, yes, not in from Galilee? And doesn t the Theodotus inscription indicate that there was no
    Message 1 of 9 , Dec 3, 2007
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      "Matson, Mark (Academic)" wrote:

      > Jeffrey, and others:
      >
      > Let me now respond a bit to your request to respond to Price's comment
      > that you sent out.
      >
      > Having reviewed both Ed Sanders' and van der Horst's articles in the
      > Fine book, I think the evidence is pretty clear that there was some kind
      > of regular meeting in places (houses or whatever) on the Sabbath. These
      > meetings were either called prosuekteria or, later, synagogue. But it
      > appears that early on these places were accorded a special
      > significance-- inscriptions indicate that such existed (the Jerusalem
      > inscription has been convincingly dated to pre-70). But the existence
      > of god-fearers attached to synagogues, and to manumission documents,
      > both suggest a place where some "holy" or special significance was
      > connected to the assembly of local Jews.

      But what manumission documents we have are from the Diaspora, yes, not in from
      Galilee? And doesn't the Theodotus inscription indicate that there was no
      particular building for "synagogue" gathering in the time of Theodotus' father and
      grandfather or that a building was needed for someone to have the role of "ruler
      of the synagogue"?

      > We may not know that much what happened in these assemblies and assembly
      > places, but at least some regular instruction, reading of scripture, and
      > some prayer took place. And a focus took place on the Sabbath. To me
      > that is a kind of "worship" and it was centered at a place.
      >

      You might be interested in looking at Horsley's discussion (in his recent book on
      Galilee) of what pre-70 Galilean synagogues/meetings entailed and where they took
      place (in the town square).

      Jeffrey

      --
      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
      1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
      Chicago, Illinois
      e-mail jgibson000@...
    • Matson, Mark (Academic)
      Mark A. Matson Academic Dean Milligan College http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm ... kind ... These ... it ... Jerusalem ... existence
      Message 2 of 9 , Dec 3, 2007
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        Mark A. Matson
        Academic Dean
        Milligan College
        http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm

        > >
        > > Having reviewed both Ed Sanders' and van der Horst's articles in the
        > > Fine book, I think the evidence is pretty clear that there was some
        kind
        > > of regular meeting in places (houses or whatever) on the Sabbath.
        These
        > > meetings were either called prosuekteria or, later, synagogue. But
        it
        > > appears that early on these places were accorded a special
        > > significance-- inscriptions indicate that such existed (the
        Jerusalem
        > > inscription has been convincingly dated to pre-70). But the
        existence
        > > of god-fearers attached to synagogues, and to manumission documents,
        > > both suggest a place where some "holy" or special significance was
        > > connected to the assembly of local Jews.
        >
        > But what manumission documents we have are from the Diaspora, yes, not
        in
        > from
        > Galilee? And doesn't the Theodotus inscription indicate that there
        was no
        > particular building for "synagogue" gathering in the time of
        Theodotus'
        > father and
        > grandfather or that a building was needed for someone to have the role
        of
        > "ruler
        > of the synagogue"?

        Yes, the manumission documents are from the diaspora - but it does show
        that something like the synagogue had attained "holy" status as a place.
        That we don't have them in Palestine may simply be an absence of
        documentary data, or that economic slaver was not as extensive within
        Palestine.

        On the Theodotus inscription, here is what I have:

        Theodotus, son of Vettenus, priest and head of the synagogue, son of a
        head of the synagogue, grandson of a head of the synagogue, had this
        synagogue built for reading of the Law and instruction in the
        commandments, and also the guest lodgings and the rooms and the water
        systems for the accommodation of those who come from abroad and need
        [accommodation]. [This synagogue] was founded by his ancestors, the
        elders, and Simondes.

        My reading doesn't make it clear that this was only just now built for
        the first time, nor that it was built to provide someone a role as ruler
        of the synagogue. It could equally mean that Theodotus built a new
        building, but that it existed before. But even if it were not a totally
        dedicated building, it seems to suggest that there were "places" (even
        if homes) that served as a special gather place for prayer and
        instruction.

        Note also Josephus in Life: "The next day (a Sabbath) all the people
        assembled in the synagogue (proseuche), a very large building which
        could contain a large crowd." And in War (2:285-90), he refers to a
        synagogue in Caesarea, where they wanted to buy land and expand the
        synagogue. And then in a dispute it sacrilegious acts were done in the
        synagogue. This would suggest synagogue as formal place, and holy as
        well.

        So I think there is evidence of the synagogue as a place, not just in
        open town squares. The problem is that we don't have a lot of evidence.
        But little hard evidence that there weren't synaogues as places in
        Galilee.


        >
        > > We may not know that much what happened in these assemblies and
        assembly
        > > places, but at least some regular instruction, reading of scripture,
        and
        > > some prayer took place. And a focus took place on the Sabbath. To
        me
        > > that is a kind of "worship" and it was centered at a place.
        > >
        >
        > You might be interested in looking at Horsley's discussion (in his
        recent
        > book on
        > Galilee) of what pre-70 Galilean synagogues/meetings entailed and
        where
        > they took
        > place (in the town square).
        >
        > Jeffrey
        >
        > --
        > Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
        > 1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
        > Chicago, Illinois
        > e-mail jgibson000@...
        >
      • Mark Goodacre
        See now also Stephen Catto, Reconstructing the first-century synagogue : a critical analysis of current research (Library of New Testament Studies, 363;
        Message 3 of 9 , Dec 3, 2007
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          See now also Stephen Catto, Reconstructing the first-century synagogue : a
          critical analysis of current research (Library of New Testament Studies,
          363; London: T & T Clark, 2007). My copy arrived this morning.
          --
          Mark Goodacre Goodacre@...
          Associate Professor
          Duke University
          Department of Religion
          Gray Building / Box 90964
          Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
          Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530

          http://NTGateway.com/goodacre


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