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History of the Old Testament Synagogue

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WAYLAND BAPTIST UNIVERSITY

HISTORY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT SYNAGOGUE

PAPER PRESENTED TO

PROFESSOR LANE OLSON

IN PARTIAL FULLFILLMENT OF

THE REQUIREMENTS FOR

RLGN 1301

SCHOOL OF RELIGION

BY

MICHAEL S. FIA

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA

MAY 2012

CONTENTS I. INTRODUCTION 1 II. THE NAME: “SYNAGOGUE” 1 III. ORIGIN 2 IV. ORGANIZATION 2 Judicial 3 Liturgical 3 V. LITURGY 4 VI. BUILDING 5 VII. CONCLUSION 6 BIBLIOGRAPHY 7

HISTORY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT SYNAGOGUE
Introduction
The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines a synagogue as the local meeting place and assembly of the Jewish people during the late intertestamental and New Testament times. While Jewish tradition claims the synagogue was begun by Moses, there is little in the Old Testament to support this claim. One reason it is hard to pinpoint the exact origin of the first synagogue is because God had commanded that the Jewish people to worship only where God would put His name.
You must not worship the Lord your God in their way. But you are to seek the place the Lord your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go.

The original center for the Jewish ritual and worship was first the Tabernacle and later the Temple built in Jerusalem by Solomon. If the Jewish people were to build a place of worship other than the Temple they would have been breaching the Law. Following the Babylonian exile when the Temple was destroyed, the Jewish people had to find a place to assemble for worship, prayer, and instruction in the Law and the concept of the synagogue began to take root.
The Name: “Synagogue” The term “synagogue” is derived from the Greek word “sunagoge” which means “a bringing together” or a meeting or assembly. In its earliest usage, the term...

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