Remains of Jesus-era synagogue found in Israel

The remains of a 2 000-year-old synagogue where Jesus may have preached were found on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, archaeologists said on Friday.

The synagogue, one of the oldest ever found, was unearthed at Migdal, which Christians believe to be the birthplace of Mary Magdalene, a leading follower of Jesus.

“It is possible that Jesus had preached in this synagogue since Migdal was an important Jewish city at the time,” excavations director Dina Abshalom-Gorni, who led the dig, told Agence France-Presse.

Jesus did much of his preaching on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, also known as Lake Kinneret, where Christians believe he performed several miracles.

Archaeologists were particularly excited by the discovery of an imprint depicting the menorah—a seven-branched candelabrum—from the Jewish Second Temple destroyed in 70AD during the Roman siege of Jerusalem.

Abshalom-Gorni said the imprint was one of only four such reproductions known to exist.

“The artist apparently went to Jerusalem to see with his own eyes this sacred candelabra,” she said.

The synagogue built sometime between 50BC and 100AD is one of only seven known to date back to the Second Temple period.

Its 120-square-metre main hall has a mosaic floor and a square stone adorned with the menorah set atop a pedestal with a triangular base, which is flanked on either side by amphoras, the antiquities department said.—AFP

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