Lecture 26

Lecture 26 - Lecture 26 Synagogues need to be dated to the...

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Lecture 26 4-26-07 Synagogues need to be dated to the 5 th and 6 th centuries. Some are built in 500 AD. Monumental buildings decorated with Jewish symbols and liturgical furniture do not develop before the 4 th century. Whatever synagogue buildings were before that resemble the one at Masada. Paul and Jesus taught in synagogues (Luke 7:2-5) What about the synagogue in Capernaeum? There was nothing below the synagogue to indicate that there was a synagogue under it. It’s possible that the synagogue Jesus mentioned still remains under this synagogue. Capernaeum is mentioned also in connection to Jesus, one of the cities he condemned. How do we explain the images of the gods and zodiacs in the synagogues? What happens in the 4 th century? Is it just a coincidence that we find the rise of this art in synagogues? What else happens in the 4 th century? Constantine legalizes Christianity! From the point of Constantine on, Christians built churches, beforehand they couldn’t worship openly! Both Christians and Jews fought over the same heritage. Both are laying the same motifs for diff. reasons. It’s a shared heritage. Many of the motifs in synagogues referred directly or indirectly to the Temple. This was because according to the Jews Jesus had not replaced the Temple. Some say that this doesn’t represent the Greco_Roman sun god, but rather just the Sun. Because back then the sun wasn’t visualized as a ball of gases, it was a man! If you were Greek and Roman you worshipped that figure, but if you didn’t it was still the conceptual image of the sun. Helios in the synagogues was probably thus not Helio the sun god, but the sun itself with the zodiac symbols representing the constellations. It is thus an image of heaven itself. Perhaps the zodiac was a calendar? Maybe it alludes to a calendar. In Judaism the calendar is not solar. But we know that in antiquity in some priestly circles a solar calendar was preferred. Here we then have an allusion that was a representation of a solar calendar used by the priests, it wa important because using them you would fix the dates of festivals. In turn, this too would allude to the Temple oriented theme of the synagogue. Since the other arts appear in Christian tradition, except for Helios and the other “temple”
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This note was uploaded on 03/22/2008 for the course RELI 110 taught by Professor Magness during the Spring '08 term at UNC.

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Lecture 26 - Lecture 26 Synagogues need to be dated to the...

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