Sacred Realm: The Emergence of the Synagogue in the Ancient World

By Steven Fine | Go to book overview
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Acanthus a decorative motif of stylized leaves of the acanthus plant, a prickly herb found in the Mediterranean region.
Acroteria decorative elements on opposing ends of a tile roof.
Aedicula(e) a niche composed of columns or pillars supporting a pediment or lintel. Used in synagogues as a Torah Shrine.
Amoraim Rabbinic scholars in Palestine and Babylon during the Talmudic period (third-fifth centuries C.E.). Their scholarship served as the basis for the Palestinian Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud and for Amoraic and post-Amoraic Midrashic collections.
Apse a semicircular or polygonal termination of a building, appearing in synagogues from the late fifth or early sixth century C.E.
Architrave the horizontal beam spanning the interval between two columns or piers.
Babylonian Talmud ostensibly a commentary on thirty-seven Mishnaic tractates, the Babylonian Talmud, c. 550 C.E., is a carefully crafted literary document that contains the traditions of the latter Rabbinic (Amoraic) academies in Babylonia (modern Iraq). The Babylonian Talmud is the most important document for the history of late antique Babylonian Jewry.
Baraita a purportedly Tannaitic, early Rabbinic tradition not included in the Mishnah of Rabbi Judah the Prince (c. 200 C.E.).
Basilica a rectangular building, often with internal aisles, a central nave, and an apse opposite the entry.
B.C.E./C.E. Before the Common Era/Common Era; terms used by non-Christians in place of B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini).
Bema an elevated dais or platform in a church or synagogue.
Beit Midrash (pl. Batei Midrash) house of study; a meeting place in which Rabbinic Sages studied and fulfilled other religious functions.
Broadhouse a synagogue building whose Torah Shrine is situated on the long wall; examples include the synagogues of Dura Europos, Khirbet Shema, Eshtemoa, and Khirbet Susiya.
Capital the uppermost member of a column.
Chancel screen a lattice-work or solid screen erected around the bema in a synagogue or church. Like the apse, the chancel screen was taken over by the synagogue from church architecture during the late fifth or sixth century C.E.
Corbel an architectural member that projects from a wall to support weight.
Corinthian capital an inverted bell-shaped capital decorated with acanthus leaves, stems, and volutes.
Decapolis a loose federation of ten hellenized cities in north


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Sacred Realm: The Emergence of the Synagogue in the Ancient World


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