Synagogue In Mary Magdalene’s Hometown Offers Clues About Judeo-Christian Worship (PHOTOS)


Archaeologists work to uncover first-century artifacts from the site of an ancient synagogue situated on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel. | Courtesy Rosaura Sanz Rincón

In a city where Jesus’ companion Mary Magdalene lived and perhaps even met with Jesus, the discovery and excavation of a first-century synagogue is shedding new light on Judeo-Christian worship 2,000 years ago.

In 2009 a team of researchers in the town of Migdal on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel discovered an ancient synagogue, one of only a handful dating back to the time of Jesus, when the town was a small fishing village known as Magdala. An ongoing excavation at the Magdala synagogue has since turned up valuable artifacts including a rosette mosaic and a special table that may once have displayed Torah scrolls with a stone relief of a seven-branched candelabrum, according to Haaretz.

What archaeologists know about the synagogue’s construction also suggests to some scholars that Jews and the earliest Judeo-Christians may have worshipped together at the holy site, per Haaretz.

The structure’s timeline certainly seems to correspond with the emergence of Christianity. Haaretz notes that a coin recovered from the remains of the synagogue has been dated to 29 A.D., while other research shows the temple was renovated between 40 and 50 A.D. and then abandoned before 68 A.D.

Jesus’ crucifixion, meanwhile, is generally believed to have been around 30 A.D., with a recent study suggesting an exact death date of April 3, 33 A.D.

In the Bible, Magdala is listed as the home of one of Jesus’ most prominent female followers. According to The Jerusalem Post, the Gospels of Luke, Mark and John say Mary of Magdalene accompanied Jesus in Galilee, witnessed his crucifixion and then became one of the first to speak with him after he rose from the dead.

The historical possibilities are therefore tantalizing for biblical archaeologists, who continue to examine the site for evidence of a meeting between Mary and Jesus in ..conintue reading at

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