The Ancient Synagogue: The First Thousand Years

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Yale University Press, 2000 - History - 748 pages
2 Reviews
Annotation The synagogue was one of the most central and revolutionary institutions of ancient Judaism leaving an indelible mark on Christianity and Islam as well. This commanding book provides an in-depth and comprehensive history of the synagogue from the Hellenistic period to the end of late antiquity. Drawing exhaustively on archeological evidence and on such literary sources as rabbinic material, the New Testament, Jewish writings of the Second Temple period, and Christian and pagan works, Lee Levine traces the development of the synagogue from what was essentially a communal institution to one which came to embody a distinctively religious profile. Exploring its history in the Greco-Roman and Byzantine periods in both Palestine and the Diaspora, he describes the synagogue's basic features: its physical remains; its role in the community; its leadership; the roles of rabbis, Patriarchs, women, and priests in its operation; its liturgy; and its art. What emerges is a fascinating mosaic of a dynamic institution that succeeded in integrating patterns of social and religious behavior from the contemporary non-Jewish society while maintaining a distinctively Jewish character.
 

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User Review  - Cheryl Mason - Christianbook.com

I haven't got around to reading all of this book yet. It's BIG! But, from what I have read so far, I'm so glad it sits on my bookshelf. It truly is a masterpiece, and answers every question relating to the Ancient Synagogue. I have no doubt I will refer to it often during the course of my life. Read full review

The ancient synagogue: the first thousand years

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Levine (Jewish history and classical archaeology, Hebrew Univ.) has produced a massive and scholarly study of the evolving role of the synagogue, from the Hellenistic period to late antiquity. The ... Read full review

Contents

The Historical Development of the Synagogue
19
The Second Temple Period
21
3 Pre70 Judaea
45
4 The Pre70 Diaspora
81
5 The Second Temple Synagogue Its Role and Functions
135
Late Antiquity
174
7 Byzantine Palestine
210
8 Diaspora Synagogues
250
14 Women in the Synagogue
499
15 Priests
519
16 Liturgy
530
The Limits of Interpretation
593
18 Diachronic and Synchronic Dimensions The Synagogue in Context
613
19 Epilogue
637
Glossary
641
List of Abbreviations
645

The Synagogue As An Institution
311
9 The Building
313
10 The Communal Dimension
381
11 Leadership
412
12 The Patriarch Nasi and the Synagogue
454
13 The Sage and the Synagogue
466
Bibliography
649
Illustration Credits
731
Source Index
735
Subject Index
763
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About the author (2000)

Lee I. Levine is professor of Jewish history and archeology at the Hebrew University.

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