An unusual rural ancient synagogue that dates back to shortly after the time of Jesus has been unearthed in Galilee. The rare find – a huge 29 feet long and 26 feet wide room with walls lined by limestone benches – promises to add weight to stories about Jesus in the Bible.Most synagogues dating from around this time – known as the Second Temple Period - are found in urban centers and this is the first to be found in what was an ancient Jewish village.
JESUS'S VISITS TO GALILEE
According to the New Testament, Jesus established his ministry at the city of Capernaum on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Hundreds of Jewish villages were spread though out Galilee. At several points in the books of Matthew, Mark and Luke, there are references to Jesus visiting these villages to preach the gospel in thei rsynagoges.
Matthew 9:35, for example, states: 'Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness.' According to the New Testament, Jesus travelled from towns and villages preaching in their synagogues.\ But until now no rural synagogues have been found from around the time. The building, which archaeologists have dated to the First Century AD, appears to have formed part of a Jewish village at a hilltop site known as Tel Recheš, near Mount Tabor in lower Galilee, Israel.
Dr Mordechai Aviam, an archaeologist at Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee who has been leading the excavations, told MailOnline that he believes the synagogue was built between 20-40AD and was in use until midway through the second century. He said: 'This is the first 1st century synagogue in rural Galilee of the first century.
'This find, reflects the life of 1st century Galilee, which was almost totally rural.
'The site is 17 km (10 miles) as crow flies east of Nazareth, and 12 km from Nin (Naim), and although we don't have its name in the New Testament, it is in the area in which Jesus acted.