THE SYNAGOGUE AT CAPERNAUM
Excavated ruins of the synagogue at Capernaum
Jesus was based at Capernaum during his ministry to Galilee.
The synagogue pictured here is from a later century - Jesus did not teach in this building. But the layout and floor-plan would have been the same:
This magnificent lime-stone synagogue at Capernaum, pictured above, was one of the largest and most well built of theByzantine Period. Its walls, pavers and columns were made of white limestone from farther west in Galilee, and contrasted sharply with the dark grey basalt stone of earlier buildings on this site.
The main room was flanked by two tiers of seats on the eastern and western sides, divided by two rows of columns.
It is not certain that the earlier synagogue is the one visited by Jesus.
Jews at that time, before synagogues became popular, met in other places - an open square, a large house's courtyard, an affluent person's residence.
It may very well be that Nazareth, poor as it was, was only able to offer this sort of setting to Jesus when he returned to his home town. The word 'synagogue' refers primarily to a gathering of people, and only secondarily to a formal structure - something that Jesus would have understood.
Frontal view of the Synagogue at Capernaum
Plan of the synagogue at Capernaum. The synagogue at Nazareth
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