Ancient Synagogue Inscription from Alexandria, Egypt: 3 AD

Synagogue Inscriptions from the Oldest Synagogues in the world


Alexandria, Egypt: 3 AD




A. Alexandria Synagogue Inscription:

1.       Inscription text: “... Hathyr 18, in the ... of those from the ... archisynagogos1 ... archiprostates2 ... Since Brasidas son of Herakleides ... 33rd year of Caesar3 ... in all ... and soundly, ... the expense ... days ... repair ... by word in ... crown ... with two …”

2.       Glyptic artifact: Greek Synagogue inscription on marble

3.       Provenance: Alexandria, Egypt, 1900 AD.

4.       Current location: Alexandria Museum,

5.       Alexandria Synagogue Occupation Date (SOD) = Excavation date + Inscriptional date + Literary date = 262 BC

a.         SOD computation system details

b.        Excavation date: none

c.         Inscriptional date: 200 BC

                                                                i.      Alexandria 3 AD

                                                              ii.      Gabbary 37 BC

                                                            iii.      Hadra 200 BC

d.        Literary date:

                                                                i.      Josephus 20 BC

                                                              ii.      Philo 262 BC

                                                            iii.      Tosefta 250 AD

                                                            iv.      Jerusalem Talmud 400 AD

                                                              v.      Babylonian Talmud 500 AD

6.       Contemporary Ruler: Caesar Octavian Augustus (31 BC - 14 AD)

7.       References:

a.         JIGRE: Jewish Inscriptions of Graeco-Roman Egypt, Hornbury/Noy, #18 1992 AD

8.       Related Bible verses:

a.         Mk 5:22; Lk 13:14; Acts 13:5; 18:8, 17

9.       Further documentation:

a.         Great Basilica Synagogue of Alexandria: 280 BC – 117 AD 

b.        “The great sanhedrin was [made up of] seventy-one members, B and the small one was [made up of] twenty-three. C And how do we know that the great sanhedrin was to have seventy-one members? D Since it is said, Gather to me seventy men of the elders of Israel (Num. 11:16). E Since Moses was in addition to them, lo, there were seventy-one. F R. Judah says, “It is seventy.” G And how do we know that a small one is twenty-three? H Since it is said, The congregation shall judge, and The congregation shall deliver (Num. 35:24, (25)— I one congregation judges, and one congregation saves—thus there are twenty. J And how do we know that a congregation is ten?  Since it is said, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation [of the ten spies] (Num. 14:27)—xcluding Joshua and Caleb. K And how do we know that we should add three more? L From the implication of that which is said, You shall not follow after the many to do evil (Ex. 23:20), I derive the inference that I should be with them to o good. M If so, why is it said, After the many to do evil? N Your verdict of acquittal is not equivalent to your verdict of guilt. O Your verdict of acquittal may be on the vote of a majority of one, but your vote for guilt must be by a majority of two. P Since there cannot be a court of an even number of members [twenty-two], they add yet another—thus twenty-three. Q And how many residents must there be in a town so that it may be suitable for a sanhedrin? R One hundred and twenty. S R. Nehemiah says, “Two hundred and thirty, equivalent in number to the chiefs of groups of ten [Ex. 18:21].” (Mishnah, m. Sanhedrin 1:6)


B. Inscription footnotes:

1.       Used in Mk 5:22; Lk 13:14; Acts 13:5; 18:8, 17 and 3x in Theodotos inscription (c. 30 BC)

2.       “prostates” common synagogue ruler in Egypt

3.       Caesar Octavian Augustus (31 BC - 14 AD)



By Steve Rudd 2017: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections


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Master introduction: Summary overview is the place to start to tie it all together.

Providence: God’s eternal plan: The providential transition from Temple to Synagogue to Church

Origin: Synagogues originated at Alexandria Egypt in 280 BC spawned by the Septuagint

Jesus the Messiah of the Tanakh:

1.       First Century Jewish Messianic Expectation: As witnessed in the Dead Sea scrolls.

2.       Looking for the wrong thing: Mistaken Jewish ideas of the Messiah in 30 AD.

3.       Jesus fulfilled Prophecy: Master list of fulfilled messianic prophecies

4.       Jesus fulfilled Prophecy: "He shall be called a Nazarene (branch)" Matthew 2:23

5.       Jesus fulfilled Prophecy: “Jesus would rise the third day” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Synagogue Architectural Prototypes in the Church:

1.         Standard architectural synagogue typology: Introduction, Master Chart

2.         Mikveh for Ritual Purity: The Christian Maker

3.         Ritual purity stone Vessels: Stoneware cups and wash basins

4.         Freestanding Columns: Antitype of Christians

5.         Artwork: Heart-Shaped Columns

6.         The bema: Prototype of the Church Pulpit

7.         Synagogue Benches: Metaphor of Equality in Christ

8.         Women Seating in Synagogues: Not segregated from men

9.         The Moses’ Seat: Metaphor of Pride

10.    Niches & Ark of The Scrolls: Prototype of Church Apse

11.    Table of the Scrolls: Prototype of Communion Table

12.    Byzantine Church Architecture: Octagonal and Basilica

13.    Orientation: Early Synagogues did not Point to Jerusalem

14.    The Church replaced the Temple: Replacement theology is pure Christianity

Synagogue Worship Prototypes in the Church:

15.    Worship prototypes: Introduction and Master Summary Chart

16.    Collective Names of Synagogues: House of Prayer, Temple, Church

17.    Organization of Synagogues: Elders, officials, attendants, Independent, autonomous

18.    Attendance: Weekly Sabbath Assemblies in Synagogues absent from Tanakh

19.    Public Bible readings: Preaching and Teaching In Synagogues

20.    Greek Septuagint: The Standard Tanakh of every ancient synagogue

21.    Greek Septuagint scroll of the Twelve Minor Prophets written in 50 BC

22.    Prayer in Synagogues: “House of prayer” Proseuche

23.    Food: Sacred Passover Meals, No Common Meals In Synagogues

24.    Sermon Topics in Synagogues: How Christians used the Tanakh to convert Jews

25.    Singing in Synagogues: Non-Instrumental Acapella Responsive Singing

26.    Benevolence Money: Freewill Weekly First fruits Collections for poor in Synagogues

27.    Education: Schools and Literacy of Jews In Synagogues

28.    Role of Women in Synagogues: Never leaders, preachers but never segregated

29.    Sanctuary Status: Refugees seeking Asylum in Synagogues

30.    Appendages: Hostels, Housing and Food Banks in Synagogues

31.    Civil Court: Judgements, beatings and scourging in Synagogues

32.    Civic Meetings: Political Town Hall assemblies in Synagogues

33.    Christians replaced Jews: Replacement theology is pure Christianity

Synagogue Occupation Date (SOD)= Excavation date + Inscriptional date + Literary date 

Allusions: Synagogue worship allusions and imagery in the New Testament

Master builder Stonemason Jesus: “Upon this Rock I will build My church

Everyday life: Archeology of Everyday Life and Homes at the time of Jesus

Master List: Master list of First Temple Period, Pre-70 AD Synagogues

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By Steve Rudd 2017: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections




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Archeology of First Century Houses


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