Research on the early informal synagogue

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Derek | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Jun 21 2019 12:38 PM

Hey all!

I'm doing research on the early synagogue form of worship. There are two synagogue forms that I'm running into, one seems to be more structured, that met in buildings and had a Rabbi officiating. There seems to be another form of synagogue that met in homes, with a few elders functioning as overseers. All I can find is research discussing the formal synagogue, and not much on the informal. I do know that wherever there were 10 Jewish males, they could form a synagogue in their home... But, what did this synagogue look like when there was no rabbi?

I'm assuming the qualifications for leadership were similar to the early church. I'm imagining that it may look something like 1 Cor 14:26 where Paul says, when you come together everyone has something to contribute... But, I have no references to either confirm or deny this assumption.

Where might I go to discuss this topic? What sources, or might there be some scholars willing to discuss with me?

Thanks!

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 21 2019 1:55 PM

You could try searching for (House, Home) WITHIN {Headword Synagogue}. If you get too much noise, remove the keyword 'house'.

There is an old book in Logos, The Religion and Worship of the Synagogue: An Introduction to the Study of Judaism from the New Testament Period. I don't know how reliable it is, but you may be able to pick it up for free if you're on Faithlife Connect.

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David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 21 2019 2:03 PM

Derek:

I'm doing research on the early synagogue form of worship. There are two synagogue forms that I'm running into

Questions: What time period do you define as "early"? 

If just after the destruction of the Temple in 70 ad the simpler one many be the start of the more formal one. [[Before they could get organized.  What will we do when we can not longer worship in formal churches? ]]

Please keep us posted what you find. 

EDIT [[The book listed above seems to discuss only the formal ones but does state that they started back in the Greek period]] 

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 21 2019 2:29 PM

Derek:
I do know that wherever there were 10 Jewish males, they could form a synagogue in their home

As David hints at, you'd need to nail down 'when'. Your '10' reference is presumably the Mishnah (Megillah 4.3i), later the basis for minyan (quorum). But when that referred to, is guesswork. James' usage of synagogue definitely illustrates the wobbly usage, as well as rabbis a late 1st century dating.


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