The tradition and spirituality of Judaism has touched people the world over for thousands of years. With the arrival in the near East of Alexander the Great and the destruction of the Temple in AD70, the synagogue came to represent a new era of this powerful religion, one which witnesses a greater emphasis on shared religious experience and prayer. In turn, the synagogue, derived from the Greek, meaning an "assembly", has come to mean the Jewish house of worship, evolving into a "sacred realm", in which the Torah came to play a central role linking the biblical past with the messianic future. Of course, the synagogue has been much more than a house of worship - it served the Jewish people as a place of learning, a community centre, and often as the official seat of Jewish self-government. Indeed, it is the institution most closely associated with the development of post-biblical Judaism thoughout the ages. This study offers a comprehensive history of the architectural and archaeological development of the synagogue from the third century BC to AD700.
Telling the story of over 100 ancient synagogues throughout the world and their place in the history of Judaism and of Western civilization, this book provides a representation of the cultural, intellectual and artistic achievements of 3000 years of Jewish experience. This book accompanies an exhibition organized by the Yeshiva University Museum in New York.show more