Saturday, October 06, 2018

Matassa, Invention of the First-Century Synagogue

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Lidia D. Matassa, Invention of the First-Century Synagogue (SBL Press, 2018)

In Invention of the First-Century Synagogue, Lidia D. Matassa critically reevaluates the scholarship surrounding the identification of firsrst-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. After a clear review of the material evidence, Matassa concludes that the identification of a synagogue at Gamla may be correct.

LIDIA D. MATASSA was an independent scholar and founding president of the Irish Association for the Study of the Ancient Near East. She participated in a number of excavations in Israel and helped organize multiple interdisciplinary conferences in Dublin. She coedited Text, Theology, and Trowel: Recent Research into the Hebrew Bible (2011). Matassa passed away suddenly in January 2016.
HT Todd Bolen at the Bible Places Blog. Cross-file under New Book.

Also, the work of the late Dr. Matassa was mentioned here.

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