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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Invention of the First-Century Synagogue
Matassa, Lidia D.

Atlanta: SBL Press, 2018 pp. xxi + 264. $39.95

Series Information
Ancient Near Eastern Monographs, 22

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Description: This work critically reevaluates the scholarship surrounding the identification of first-century synagogues at five key sites: Delos, Jericho, Herodium, Masada, and Gamla. These sites are consistently used in modern scholarship as comparators for all other early synagogues. Matassa reviews the scholarly discourse concerning each site, inspects each site, and examines the excavation reports in conjunction with a thorough analysis of the literary and epigraphic evidence. She uncovers misunderstandings of the site remains by previous scholars and concludes that excavators incorrectly identified synagogues at Delos, Jericho, Masada, and Herodium. In the case of Gamla, however, the identification may be correct.

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Israel, History of Judaism, Archaeology

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Review by Joshua Schwartz
Published 5/9/2019
Citation: Joshua Schwartz, review of Lidia D. Matassa, Invention of the First-Century Synagogue, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2019).


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