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Sepphoris Synagogue Mosaic, 5th century CE

Sepphoris_Synagogue_Mosaic

Sepphoris Synagogue Mosaic

In 1993, while preparing to open Sepphoris to the public as a national park, a bulldozer revealed white tesserae (the small cubes of stone or glass that mosaics are made of)—dedicatory inscription.

The Sepphoris synagogue mosaic is remarkable in several respects- It is large and in many places relatively well preserved. Even where it is not well preserved, we can puzzle out most of its content. Most of it is distinctly Jewish, with Biblical characters and Jewish religious objects. But some of it seems oddly pagan- It contains a large zodiac with—surprisingly—the sun god at its center. As we shall see, the mosaic as a whole bears a powerful message, one that would have reverberated strongly with the hopes of its congregants.

Zeev Weiss, “The Sepphoris Synagogue Mosaic,” BAR 26-05, Sep-Oct 2000.

Posted in: Byzantine Period

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