Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

1195 – Magdala synagogue and menorah


Archaeologists have been excavating at Magdala, the ruins of an ancient village along the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Magdala is the traditional home of Mary Magdalene. The 2,000-year old synagogue they are excavating is no doubt one of the synagogues visited by Jesus during his ministry in Galilee, it’s just a couple of miles from Capernaum. The menorah found at this site is the oldest depiction of a menorah that has ever been found, and may more closely resemble the menorah depicted in the famous Arch of Titus in Rome. This is an exciting discovery, a location we will certainly expect to visit in future Holyland study tours.

We also discuss some coins found by archaeologists that date to the time of the Bar Kochba revolt, 130-133 A.D., and reports of ancient coins uncovered in the Egyptian Museum that are linked to the patriarch Joseph. The latter story sounds highly suspicious to us, there are a lot of unanswered questions regarding its claims. When a discovery of this nature sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

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