Capharnaum, Galilee, Israel — The Middle East
The Synagogue of Capharnaum
The synagogue is made up of four units, namely the prayer hall, the eastern courtyard, the southern porch, and a side-room near the northwestern corner of the prayer hall.
The prayer hall, with the façade toward Jerusalem, is rectangular in ground plan. A stylobate divides the spacious central nave from the aisles. Stone benches were set along the eastern and western aisles. The focal point of the prayer hall was in the Jerusalem-oriented wall of the central nave.
The trapezoidal shape of the court was dictated by the line of the houses along the main north-south street of the town. Two staircases gave access to the unroofed porch.
Another staircase was on the northeastern corner of the courtyard. The synagogue was built almost entirely with limestone blocks. The decorative elements (lintels, cornices, capitals etc.) leave the visitors spellbound. The synagogue is not earlier than the end of the fourth century AD according the Franciscan archaeologists. Other archaeologists prefer a date in the late third century AD.
Under the monumental synagogue a basalt-stone wall was found, which is interpreted by the excavators as the remains of an earlier synagogue, either of the time of Jesus (according to Corbo) or of a later date. A first century AD stone pavement, found under the artificial podium
Under the side aisles of the prayer hall and in the area of the courtyard several remains of houses were found, with pottery of the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
Erected by Custodia Terrae Sanctae, Ordo Fratrum Minorum, Franciscan Friars.
Location. 32° 52.844′ N, 35° 34.514′ E. Marker is in Capharnaum, Galilee. Marker can be reached from Route 87 3.3 kilometers east of Route 90. Touch for map.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 kilometers of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Synagogue of Jesus (within shouting distance of this marker in Northern District); Capharnaum (about 90 meters away, measured in a direct line); Church of Heptapegon (approx. 2.5 kilometers away); Domestic Building (approx. 11 kilometers away in Northern District); The Architecture of Tiberias (approx. 11 kilometers away in Northern District); The Synagogue Doors of Burial Caves / Burial Customs - Sarcophagi (approx. 11 kilometers away in Northern District); "Magic on the sea of galilee..." (approx. 11.1 kilometers away in Northern District). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Capharnaum.
More about this marker. In the center is a drawing of the synagogue with the legend: "Private houses buried under the artificial podium of the monumental synagogue; Remains of a synagogue pre-dating the monumental synagogue; Areas excavated by the Franciscan archaeologists Corbo and Loffrede in 1969-1981; The monumental synagogue of IV-V century AD"
On the left and right are photos of earlier excavations and drawings of floor plans and plot layouts.
Also see . . . Synagogue of Capharnaum (video). YouTube (Submitted on July 3, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
Additional keywords. archaeology; White Synagogue
Categories. • Churches & Religion •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 3, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 714 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 3, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 4. submitted on July 4, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.