Religious Diversity in Byzantine Galilee: The Evidence from Horvat Kur

Münger, Stefan (21 November 2015). Religious Diversity in Byzantine Galilee: The Evidence from Horvat Kur (Unpublished). In: Annual Meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research; Session: Archaeology of the Near East: e Classical Periods. 18.-21.11.2015.

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Five (5) seasons of archaeological work at Horvat Kur in the Lower Eastern Galilee have exposed the remains of a "broad-house" synagogue from the Byzantine period. Excavations in both the synagogue area and the nearby domestic quarter locate the main occupation phases at Horvat Kur from the late fourth to the seventh century CE. The Horvat Kur synagogue thus provides additional archaeological evidence for religious diversity in Byzantine Galilee, complementing evidence from other synagogues and challenging the view that, after Constantine, Judaism in the region was in decline and turning inward. On the contrary, it increasingly appears that local rural Jewish communities continued to flourish, despite imperial edicts from the early fifth century onwards that tried to restrict or prohibit the construction of new synagogues. In addition, the Horvat Kur synagogue is located in close proximity to the important Christian pilgrimage sites of Tabgha, where a church was built in the fifth century, and Capernaum, where a church and synagogue are located almost adjacent to each other. The locations of these structures and villages make it likely that daily contacts between Jewish and Christian communities must have taken place. In this paper, we evaluate whether and how the material evidence for the coexistence of small Galilean communities could supplement (and correct) ancient literary sources which have, in the past, been regarded as evidence for mutual antagonism and alienation. Perhaps the literary sources were advocating for a distance between the communities which did not exist in social and material contexts.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


01 Faculty of Theology > Institute of Jewish Studies
01 Faculty of Theology > Department of Protestant Theology [discontinued] > Institute of Jewish Studies [discontinued]

UniBE Contributor:

Münger, Stefan


900 History > 930 History of ancient world (to ca. 499)




Stefan Münger

Date Deposited:

19 Aug 2016 10:35

Last Modified:

17 Sep 2019 10:15


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