The synagogue

By the time of the birth of Christianity Judaism had developed an institution, the synagogue, which was to have a profound effect upon the nascent Christian Church. The synagogue had arisen between the revival of Judaism after the fall of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms and the time of Jesus. Synagogues were the chief centres of Jewish worship. Until its destruction a generation or so after the time of Jesus, the temple in Jerusalem was the main shrine of Judaism. Yet both in Palestine and among the Jews of the "dispersion," scattered through much of the Mediterranean world and Western Asia, the synagogues were the places where most of the Jews worshipped and were taught. They had regular forms of service. In them the Law and the Prophets were read and expounded. Through them and the instruction given in them Judaism was perpetuated. Schools were associated with the synagogues and in them the Scriptures and the unwritten law were taught.

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