April 5, 2010

More on early churches & synagogues

Alan Knox is still blogging on James' Burtchaell's From Synagogue to Church (Cambridge, 2004). These posts just keep getting better and better. Enjoy:
The Jews gathered together in order to maintain their identity as God’s chosen people. While this would certainly include times of reading, teaching, and discussing Scripture, these activities alone do not account for the existence of the synagogue. The synagogue existed because the Jewish community existed and to maintain that community’s identity, existence, and propagation.

Thus, the primary activities that took place when the synagogue convened were community-building activities. For example, Josephus gives an account of a political discussion that begins on one Sabbath, and continues for two or more days as the community continued to come together in order to make some important decisions. (Josephus Life 279ff)

As Burtchaell points out (in the quote [here]), the early Christians gathered together for similar reasons...
Read the rest here.

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