Ancient Synagogues: An Introduction (Schweich Lectures on Biblical Archaeology)

Mon 5 Dec 2022, 18:30 - 19:45

Baby changing facilities
Wheelchair accessible venue
Photograph of ruins of ancient Capernaum synagogue depicting remnants of an ancient building with central pillars
The British Academy

Event ended

Delivered by the most outstanding academics in the UK and beyond, the British Academy’s flagship lecture
programme showcases the very best scholarship in the humanities and social sciences.

In this lecture, Professor Jodi Magness discusses the origins of ancient synagogues in Palestine (modern Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Territories) and traces their development until the Muslim conquest in the early seventh century C.E. The lecture will examine different types of synagogue buildings (e.g., Masada; Capernaum; Hammath Tiberias; Beth Alpha), and devote special attention to the figured decoration and pagan motifs such as Helios and the zodiac cycle that decorate the mosaic floors of some of these synagogues.

This lecture is the first of the 2022 Schweich Lectures series:

Lecture one: 'Ancient Synagogues: An Introduction' (5 December)
Lecture two: 'The History of Ancient Synagogue Studies and the Dating of Galilean-Type Synagogues' (6 December)
Lecture three: 'More than Just Mosaics: The Ancient Synagogue at Huqoq in Israel's Galilee'. (8 December)

Professor Jodi Magness

Speaker: Professor Jodi Magness, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Professor Jodi Magness is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (category of Philosophy and Religious Studies). She holds a senior endowed chair in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism. From 1992-2002, Magness was Associate/Assistant Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology in the Departments of Classics and Art History at Tufts University, Medford, MA. She received her B.A. in Archaeology and History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1977), and her Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania (1989). From 1990-1992, Magness was Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in Syro-Palestinian Archaeology at the Centre for Old World Archaeology and Art at Brown University.

This lecture will be chaired by Professor Martin Goodman FBA, University of Oxford

Schweich Lectures on Biblical Archaeology

In 1907, in memory of her father Leopold, Miss Constance Schweich endowed a fund ‘devoted to the furtherance of research in the archaeology, art, history, languages and literature of Ancient Civilisation, with reference to Biblical Study’. One fruit of the fund was the foundation of this lecture series. The lecture was first delivered in 1908.

Papers from each lecture are published together in book form. The Schweich Lectures are a highly regarded forum on Biblical Archaeology: the popularity of these volumes has remained undiminished over the years and there have been many reprintings.

A recording of this event will be added to this page after the event has taken place. If you have any questions about this event, please email [email protected].

Image: Capernaum synagogue. Photograph by Jodi Magness.

Sign up to our email newsletters