Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

#1237 – Another synagogue in Galilee

Capernaum Synagogue

Pictured is the most well-known synagogue in the Galilee, perhaps in the world. It’s the White Synagogue in Capernaum, located just a stone’s throw from the remains of what has been identified as the house of St. Peter. It dates to the 4th or 5th century, and seems to sit on the ruins of an earlier synagogue that probably dates to the first century, the time of Jesus. Located a few miles up the hill from Capernaum is Chorazim, another city mentioned in the gospels, also dating to 4th century. In recent weeks we’ve talked about synagogues being excavated at Magdala and Wadi Hamam, which actually do seem to date to the first century. These synagogues are located near the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, just a few miles from Capernaum. Now we have reports of the excavation of another synagogue at a site called Horvat Kur, roughly half way between Capernaum and Magdala.  It brings to mind the words of Matthew 4:23 – Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” Here are five synagogues, all within an hour or two walk of each other, at locations quite likely visited by Jesus during his ministry.

Also on this program, we discuss the background leading to the beginning of the excavation at Magdala, and the discovery of a gold coin at another Sea of Galilee city, Bethsaida.


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