SYNAGOGUE (avvaywyii) , literally " assemblage," is the
See also:term employed to denote either a
See also:congregation of Jews, i.e. a
See also:local circle accustomed to meet together for worship and religious instruction, or the
See also:building in which the congregation met . In the first sense the word is a
See also:translation of name, keneseth (assemblage), in the second of nwen nu, beth hakkeneseth (
See also:house of assemblage) . Further the term is often used to denote the
See also:system of Judaism, as when the " Synagogue " is contrasted to the "
See also:Church." The germ of the synagogue, that is, of religious assemblages dissociated from the
See also:ancient ritual of the
See also:altar, may be found in the circle of the prophets and their disciples (see especially Isa. viii . 16 seq.) ; but the synagogue as an institution characteristic of Judaism arose after the
See also:work of
See also:Ezra, and is closely connected with the development of Judaism, to which his reformation gave definite shape . From the
See also:time of Ezra downwards it was the business of every
See also:Jew to know the
See also:law; the school (beth hammidrash) trained scholars, but the synagogue, where the law was read every
See also:Sabbath (Acts xv . 21), was SYNAGOGUE 291 the means of popular instruction . Such synagogues existed in all parts of
See also:Judaea in the time of Ps. lxxiv . 8 (probably a psalm of the Persian
See also:period); in Acts xv . 21 it appears that they had existed for many generations " in every city." This held
See also:good not only for
See also:Palestine, but for the Dispersion; in
See also:post-Talmudic times the
See also:rule was that a synagogue must be built wherever there were ten Jews . In the Dispersion the synagogue filled a greater place in the communal
See also:life, for on Palestinian
See also:soil the
See also:Temple enjoyed a predominant position . In this sense the synagogue is a
See also:child of the Dispersion, but this does not imply that it was a product of the Hellenic diaspora . For the Aramaic papyri discovered at
See also:Assuan show that in the 5th century B.C. the
See also:Egyptian Jews had their place of worship in Syene long before Greek influences had begun to make them-selves
See also:felt .
The fact that the Books of theMaccabees never refer to synagogues is not evidence that synagogues were unknown in Judaea in the Maccabean period . These books refer mostly to a time of war, when assemblages in the cities were impossible; their
See also:interest, moreover, is concentrated in the Temple and the restoration of its services . During the second Temple there is no doubt but that public worship was organized in the provinces as well as in the Jewish settlements outside the
See also:Land . And though the name " synagogue " varies with 7rpoaevxi (" place of prayer "), it appears that everywhere the assemblage was primarily one for instruction in the law; the synagogue, as Philo puts it, was a S&Sao aAeiov . Prayer, in the more restricted sense, invariably accompanied the instruction, and several parts of the extant
See also:liturgy go back to the 3rd century B.C . A formed institution of this sort required some organization: he general
See also:order of the service was directed by one or more "rulers of the synagogue" (apxiavvl yoryot, Luke xiii . 14; Acts xiii . 15), who called on
See also:fit persons to read, pray and preach;
See also:alms were collected by two or more " collectors " (gabble seddgd); and a "
See also:minister " (hazzan, nr77Pfrfls, Luke iv . 20) had
See also:charge of the. sacred books (preserved in an "
See also:ark ") and of other ministerial functions, including the teaching of
See also:children to read . The discipline of the congregation was enforced by excommunication (Iherem) or temporary exclusion (niddui), and also by the minor punishment of scourging (Matt. x . 17), inflicted by the hazzdn . The disciplinary power was in the hands of a
See also:senate of elders (7rpecOUTepo6, yepovaia), the chief members of which were apxovees .
See also:principal service of the synagogue was held on Sabbath
See also:morning, and included, according to the Mishnah, the recitation of the shema' (Deut. vi . 4-9, xi . 13-21; Num. xv . 37-41), prayer, lessons from the law and prophets with Aramaic translation, a
See also:sermon (derashah) based on the lesson (Acts xiii . 15), and finally a blessing pronounced by the
See also:priest or invoked by a layman . On Sabbath afternoon and on
See also:Monday and
See also:Thursday there was a service without a lesson from the prophets; there were also services for all feast-days . Synagogues were built by preference beside
See also:water, in order to avoid proximity to the idol temples, rather than, as some think, for the convenience of the ceremonial ablutions (cf . Acts xvi . 13) . Remains of very ancient buildings of this class exist in several parts of Galilee; they generally lie
See also:north and south, and seem to have had three doors to the south, and sometimes to have been divided by columns into a
See also:nave and two aisles .
See also:Modern synagogues are mostly built of oblong shape, with a gallery for
See also:women . Since the
See also:middle ages,
See also:Renaissance and Moorish types of decoration have been generally favoured, but there is nowadays a
See also:great variety of types .
The ancient synagogue ofAlexandria (destroyed by Trajan) was a
See also:basilica . A number of
See also:recent synagogues have been built in octagonal
See also:form . The
See also:main interior features of the synagogue are the " ark " (a
See also:cupboard containing the scrolls of the law, &c.) and the almemar (or
See also:desk, from the Arabic al-
See also:pulpit) . This is sometimes in the centre, sometimes at the eastern end of the building . The
See also:Talmud prescribed an elevated site for the synagogue, but this rule has been impossible of fulfilment in modern times . The synagogues are theoretically " orientated " —i.e. the ark (which worshippers
See also:face during the principal prayer) is on the eastern side . But this rule, too, is often ignored under the stress of architectural difficulties . Jewish tradition has a great
See also:deal to say about a
See also:body called " the great synagogue," which is supposed to have been the supreme religious authority from the cessation of prophecy to the time of the high priest Simeon the Just, and is even said to have fixed the Old Testament
See also:canon (cf. v . 3 seq.) . But
See also:Kuenen in his
See also:essay " Over de Mannen der Groote Synagoge " (Verslagen of the Amsterdam Academy, 1876) has powerfully argued that these traditions are fiction, and that the name keneseth haggadola originally denoted, not a
See also:standing authority, but the great• convocation of Neh. viii.–x . Some more recent scholars are, however, more willing to attach
See also:credence to the older tradition . Compare, in general,
See also:Schurer, Geschichte
See also:des jiidischen Volkes, § 27, where the older literature is catalogued .
For some unconventional views the reader may refer to M . Friedlander, Synagoge and Kirche in ihren Anfangen (Berlin, 1908) . For the usages of the synagogue in more recent times, see Buxtorf, Synagoga judaica (
See also:Basel, 1641) . On the
See also:history of synagogue services the
See also:works of
See also:Zunz are the chief authorities; there is also a good article on Liturgy in the Jewish Encyclopedia . Useful summaries in
See also:English are to be found in Dembitz, Jewish Services in Synagogue and Home (
See also:Philadelphia, 1898) ; and Oesterley and Box, The Religion and Worship of the Synagogue (
See also:London, 19o7) . The article " Synagogue " in the Jewish Encyclopedia is illustrated with numerous pictures of buildings and plans .
SYMPOSIUM (Gr. avyr6cnov, a drinking party, from av...
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