Magdala var ein by som låg på vestsida av Gennesaretsjøen, mellom Tiberias og Kapernaum. Det er denne veka blitt kjent at arkeologar har funne restane etter ein synagoge i utgravingane som pågår på staden. Synagogen skal vera frå perioden 50 f Kr – 100 e Kr.
Dette er eit interessant arkeologiske funn. For det første fordi det bare er funne nokre ganske få synagogar som er så gamle. For det andre fordi det blei funne ein stein med eit utskore bilde av den sjuarma lysestaken i tempelet i Jerusalem. Det er faktisk første gongen ein finn bilde av denne lysestaken frå tida då tempelet framleis stod i Jerusalem, og det til og med i ein jødisk kontekst. Det hittil eldste og beste bildet har vore bildet på Titusbuen i Forum Romanum i Roma.
Veit me noko om Jesus og Magdala? Eg meiner det er ganske sannsynleg at han har vore i byen. Og har han vore i byen, har han nok sikkert også vore i synagogen som nå er funnen!
For det første låg Magdala nær Kapernaum som var eit utgangspunkt og ein heimstad for Jesus (Matt 4,13). Slik skriv Matteus om Jesu virke i Galilea:
Jesus gjekk no omkring i alle byane og landsbyane. Han underviste i synagogane deira og forkynte evangeliet om riket og lækte all sjukdom og plage. (Matt 9,35)
For det andre kan Magdala også knytast til fleire andre tekstar i NT. Det blir antatt at den kvinnelege disippelen Maria Magdalena (Mark 15,40-41) var frå byen. Byen blir også ofte identifisert med stadnamna Magadan (Matt 15,39) og Dalmanuta (Mark 8,10).
Sjå bilder frå funnet i Magdala her.
Utgravingane blir gjort av Israel Antiquities Authority. Her er informasjonen dei har gått ut med:
A synagogue from the Second Temple period (50 BCE-100 CE) was exposed in archaeological excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting at a site slated for the construction of a hotel on Migdal beach, in an area owned by the Ark New Gate Company. In the middle of the synagogue is a stone that is engraved with a seven-branched menorah (candelabrum), the likes of which have never been seen. The excavations were directed by archaeologists Dina Avshalom-Gorni and Arfan Najar of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The main hall of synagogue is c. 120 square meters in area and its stone benches, which served as seats for the worshippers, were built up against the walls of the hall. Its floor was made of mosaic and its walls were treated with colored plaster (frescos). A square stone, the top and four sides of which are adorned with reliefs, was discovered in the hall. The stone is engraved with a seven-branched menorah set atop a pedestal with a triangular base, which is flanked on either side by an amphora (jars).
According to the excavation director, Dina Avshalom-Gorni of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “We are dealing with an exciting and unique find. This is the first time that a menorah decoration has been discovered from the days when the SecondTemple was still standing. This is the first menorah to be discovered in a Jewish context and that dates to the Second Temple period/beginning of the Early Roman period. We can assume that the engraving that appears on the stone, which the Israel Antiquities Authority uncovered, was done by an artist who saw the seven-branched menorah with his own eyes in the Temple in Jerusalem. The synagogue that was uncovered joins just six other synagogues in the world that are known to date to the SecondTemple period”.
According to the Minister of Culture and Sport, MK Limor Livnat, “This important find attests to the extensive Jewish settlement in the northern region at the time of the Temple. I am certain that the site will constitute an attraction for tourists from abroad and from Israel and will shed light on life in the Jewish settlement during the Second Temple period”.
Jose Miguel Abat, legal representative of “Ark New Gate” company, expressed his joy for the finding and said it reinforces the company’s intention to establish a center of dialogue and respect between the different religions and cultures. Abat said that “we are sure this finding and the planned center will attract tourists and visitors from Israel and from around the World”.
The synagogue is located in Migdal (‘Magdala’ in Aramaic), which is mentioned in Jewish sources. Migdal played an important role during the Great Revolt and was actually the main base of Yosef Ben Matityahu (Josephus Flavius), commander of the rebellion in the Galilee. Migdal also continued to resist the Romans after both the Galilee and Tiberias had surrendered. ‘Magdala’ is mentioned in Christian sources as the place whence Mary Magdalene came, one of the women who accompanied Jesus and the apostles and who Christian tradition has sanctified. After it was conquered by the Romans, the city was destroyed and many of its residents were killed. At the end of the Second Temple period Migdal was an administrative center of the western basin of the Sea of Galilee. Until the founding of Tiberias in the year 19 CE, Migdal was the only important settlement along the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
The site is currently closed to visitors and will be opened to the public in the future.