Thursday, July 27, 2017

Magdala — an ancient priestly refuge?

ARCHAEOLOGY: New finds suggest Second Temple priests who fled the Romans kept up holy rituals in the Galilee. After seven years of excavations at Magdala, four rare ritual baths and a unique carved stone point to importance of ancient fishing town to priestly class (Amanda Borschel-Dan, Times of Israel).
The hometown of the most popular sinner of the New Testament may also have been the seat of one of the priestly families that fled Jerusalem to the Galilee after the fall of the Second Temple at the hands of the Romans.

A combination of recent findings at Magdala — home of Jesus disciple Mary Magdalene (who was recently celebrated by Catholics on her July 22 feast day) and the Jewish historian Joseph Flavius — point to a developed priestly culture with echoes of ancient Jerusalem at the site.

The question scholars are now exploring is just how much of the Temple practice the priests took along with them when they fled.

With special attention to the excavation work by archaeologist Marcela Zapata-Meza of Universidad Anáhuac México.

Past PaleoJudaica posts on the ritual baths at Magdala are here and here. A past post on the discovery of that bronze "incense" shovel is here. And for many more posts on the Magdala Stone and the site of Magdala, start here and follow those links.

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