Qum’ran Synagogue

Home of the Dead Sea Scrolls


1.       History of Qumran:

a.         “Qumran first came to life in the Late Iron II period, probably as an military outpost of the Judean monarchy. The site’s deepest and sole round cistern dates to that era. After centuries of abandonment, the site was re-built during the Hellenistic period. While the extent of the earliest renewal of occupation remains unclear, major construction totally re-shaped the site beginning about the time of John Hyrcanus, ca. 135 bce. Archaeological data correlate with the literary data on the group’s history. The withdrawal to Qumran was led by the Teacher of Righteousness within a generation or so of the founding of the sect.” (Origin and Early History of the Qumran Sect, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Biblical Archaeologist: Volume 58, 2001 AD)

2.       No synagogue building has been definitively identified at Qumran.

a.         Room 4, 77 or 30 seem the best candidates.

b.        At Quran, they ate their meals in total silence.

3.       Some believe that Qumran had no synagogue:

a.         Could there have been a conscious aversion to imitating what was being done in contemporary synagogues—yet another expression of the Qumran sect's desire to maintain biblical precedents while rejecting models that had evolved within the Jewish community in the post-biblical era? Alternatively, did the ongoing practice of study within the Qumran community render such public readings superfluous? Interestingly, it appears that another breakaway group of the Second Temple period, the Samaritans, did not include the reading of Scriptures as part of its communal ritual at this stage either. They, too, may have tried to remain within biblical parameters as much as possible or, alternatively, distance themselves from current Jewish practice.” (The Ancient Synagogue, Lee Levine, p64, 1999 AD)

4.       Yet, there is this possible reference to a synagogue in one of the Dead Sea Scrolls:

a.         “it is written: [Prov 15:8] the sacrifice of the wicked ones is an abomination, but the prayer of the just ones is like an agreeable offering. Blank And everyone who enters a house of prostration [ie prayer] should not enter with impurity requiring washing [Mikveh]; and when the trumpets of the assembly sound, he may advance or retreat, but they should not stop the whole service, [f]or it is a holy house. Blank No-one should sleep with a woman in the city of the temple, defiling the city of the temple with their impurity. Every /man/ over whom the spirits of Belial dominate” (Dead Sea Scrolls, 4Q270, 4Q271; Damascus Texts, Cave CD 11:20-12:2)

5.       Room 77 is the best candidate for a synagogue

a.         “Qumran: Qumran Room 77 is proposed by Levine (2000a:60-63; 2000b:905) as a place that combined dining and worship activities and thus might have served as a place of worship, i.e. a synagogue. Locus 4 with the benches and Locus 30 (the scriptorium) are also associated with assemblies, gatherings, and learning. Prayers, psalms, and hymns found among the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate that worship was an integral part of the Qumran residents' life; in the Damascus Document (CD xi.21—xii.1) rya rninnwn, a 'house of prostration', is mentioned. In addition, references to an Essene synagogue are found in Philo's writings. ” (Ancient Synagogues - Archaeology and Art: New Discoveries and Current Research, Rachel Hachlili, p37, 2013 AD)

b.        “The fact that the pantry with a full array of dishes and bowls was located adjacent to room 77 supports this identification. The only other option for locating this gathering at Qumran in room 4, which was lined with benches, or room 30 next to it. However, room 4 is very small, thus precluding its use by the entire sect on a daily basis. Room 30 is immediately under the scriptorium and was probably used in connection with the preparation of scrolls.” (The Ancient Synagogue, Lee Levine, footnote 85, p65, 1999 AD)

6.       Messianic Expectation in the First century as witnessed in the Dead Sea Scrolls:

a.         Ancient papyrus documents found at Qum’ran quote Deut 18:18 in expectation of the Messiah.

b.        The honest, spiritual “cream of the first century crop” converted to Christianity because of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

c.         Large numbers of Jews and Gentiles converted to Christianity in the first century because of the supernatural miracles of healings that were taking place at the hands of the Apostles of Jesus.




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


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Ancient Synagogues

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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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Synagogue Excavations

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Synagogue Literary Sources




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Archeology of First Century Houses


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






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Why not worship with a first century New Testament church near you, that has the same look and feel as the Jewish Synagogue in your own home town. As a Jew, you will find the transition as easy today as it was for the tens of thousands of your forefathers living in Jerusalem 2000 years ago when they believed in Jesus the Nazarene (the branch) as their messiah. It’s time to come home!

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