In my previous blog post, I noted the video by Sergio and Rhoda that featured Achia Cohen-Tavor and his discovery of first-century A.D. pottery and coins below the floor of the 4th-6th century Synagogue at Chorazin.
My friend and guide, Ofer Drori, visited the site on October 2, 2022, and sent me three pictures he took. It is clear that the floor and other parts of the synagogue are undergoing extensive restoration.
Ofer and I will be leading a group of travelers from the Biblical Archaeology Society in October/November and will be visiting the synagogue at that time.
PS — Ofer (in Israel) and I will be leading a 13-day Bible Study Tour to Israel and Jordan in April 2023. Shoot me an email and I will send you a brochure—no obligation. (2Foot.Steps.Tours+Chorazin@gmail.com)
Many visitors to Israel will visit Chorazin which is located about 2.3 miles north of ancient Capernaum on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. Chorazin is mentioned two times in the New Testament (Matt 11:21; Luke 10:13) and in both cases it, along with Bethsaida are cursed for their lack of belief in Jesus. The text implies that miracles were performed there, and most have assumed that Jesus would have ministered in a synagogue there as well.
When visiting the 4th-6th century synagogue at Chorazin, typically the question is asked “where is the synagogue that Jesus preached in?” Up until two years ago, the answer was, “we don’t know.”
Recently I came across a YouTube video by “Sergio & Rhoda in Israel” entitled “Lifting the ancient floor of the cursed city of Chorazin.” It was posted on September 27, 2020 (during the “heart” of the pandemic), and features the excavations led by Achia Cohen-Tavor in the synagogue and elsewhere at Chorazin. The whole video is worth watching (23 minutes long) but for those pressed for time, the work on the synagogue begins around 9:15. There are great images, drone shots, and expert commentary by Achia. He believes, based upon excavations below the floor of the late synagogue that he has found first century A.D. remains: pottery sherds and coins.
There appear to be a few referals to this video on the internet, but I have not seen any official reports of this discovery and would appreciate any references to official reports.
For additional images of the synagogue see Here. For the remainder of the site of Chorazin see Here.
Almost all travelers to Israel will visit the justly famous synagogue at Capernaum on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee—and some will even visit the one at nearby Chorazin. However, the best preserved of the “Galilean Type” synagogues is the one located at the not-too-frequently visited site of Baram. It is located in Upper Galilee, about 1.2 mi. [2 km.] south of the Israeli Lebanese border.
View looking northeast at the southern façade of the synagogue at Baram This southern wall is still intact—in contrast to the rebuilt walls of the synagogues at Capernaum and Chroazin Click on Image to Enlarge
Note the light color of the building. The darker grey upper portion was exposed to the elements over the years while the lighter lower portion was buried—until excavated.
There were eight columns that supported the roof of the porch—the one on the right (east) side is still standing! The three main doors faced south—towards Jerusalem. Stylistically, this synagogue is very similar to the more well–known ones at Capernaum and Chorazin.
View looking southeast at the interior of the synagogue Click on Image to Enlarge
Like the synagogues at Capernaum and Chorazin, the one at Baram has a central nave, two side aisles, and a back aisle. The three main doors faced south—towards Jerusalem. The floor of this synagogue was paved with limestone slabs (not mosaics). There are indications that there were benches along the two side walls.
The dating of these “Galilean” synagogues is much debated with dates ranging from the third century A.D. (unlikely) to the six century (more probable).
To view additional images of the Baram Synagogue Click Here.
On Monday I will comment on the “modern” history of Baram—Kfar Bir’im.