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Archaeologists excavating at Chorazin removed the boulders that formed the floor of the fourth-century synagogue and discovered pottery dating to the first century underneath, suggesting that the later synagogue was built on top of one from the time of Jesus. While this discovery was apparently made in 2020, it recently came to light in a series of blog posts by Carl Rasmussen. In a video from 2020, Achia Kohn-Tavor, the lead excavator, explains that the floor of the synagogue had never been lifted because previous archaeologists believed they were already at bedrock. When the excavation team removed the giant boulders on which the floor was built, they were able to dig down and reach bedrock, discovering pottery and coins both dating to the first century. Achia Kohn-Tavor believes that the podium of the synagogue was built on top of the synagogue podium from the first century, and that the entire synagogue structure around it was later renovated in the fourth century.

ABR’s Dr. Scott Stripling wrote an article called “The Rise of the Synagogue in Biblical Times” for Bible and Spade in 2020. In it he noted that a previous excavator of Chorazin, Jacob Ory, reported finding a second synagogue 656 ft. (200 m) west of the fourth-century synagogue. Stripling wrote, “Subsequent surveys of the Chorazin ruins have failed to locate this synagogue, which likely dates to the late Second Temple period.…It seems plausible that Ory’s western synagogue served Chorazin’s residents during New Testament times. Hopefully future excavations will relocate this lost synagogue” (see the link to Scott Stripling’s article below).

As recorded in Matthew 11:21, Jesus pronounced a woe on Chorazin and Bethsaida: "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes” (ESV).

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LINK TO SCOTT STRIPLING’S ARTICLE ON SYNAGOGUES:


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