An archeological find to share

Magdala Bimah

As we seek to “keep learning” here is a report to note. Please notice that the scholars quoted do not always agree about how to interpret what they are seeing. With that in mind, let’s, as a group, see what else we can discover about this dig in (ancient and buried Magdala) current day Migdal.

In a city where Jesus’ companion Mary Magdalene lived and perhaps even met with Jesus, the discovery and excavation of a first-century synagogue is shedding new light on Judeo-Christian worship 2,000 years ago.

In 2009 a team of researchers in the town of Migdal on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel discovered an ancient synagogue, one of only a handful dating back to the time of Jesus, when the town was a small fishing village known as Magdala. An ongoing excavation at the Magdala synagogue has since turned up valuable artifacts including a rosette mosaic and a special table that may once have displayed Torah scrolls with a stone relief of a seven-branched candelabrum, according to Haaretz.

What archaeologists know about the synagogue’s construction also suggests to some scholars that Jews and the earliest Judeo-Christians may have worshipped together at the holy site, per Haaretz.

Read the entire post (on Huffington Post Religion), and see more photos, too.

7/22/12—Maturing in wisdom and age

Jesus matured in wisdom and years, and in favor with God and with people. Luke 2:52 CEB

Mary Magdalene: Apostle to the Apostles

Jesus and Mary Magdalene by Bruce Wolfe in the Mission Santa Barbara
Jesus with Mary Magdalene by Bruce Wolfe in the Mission Santa Barbara

Every July 22nd the Episcopal Church commemorates Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles. This year her commemoration is moved to Monday, July 23rd.

Misidentification of Mary as reformed public sinner achieved official standing with a powerful homily by Pope Gregory the Great (540-604).
Henceforth, Mary of Magdala became known in the west, not as the strong woman leader who accompanied Jesus through a tortuous death, first witnessed his Resurrection, and proclaimed the Risen Savior to the early church, but as a wanton woman in need of repentance and a life of hidden (and hopefully silent) penitence. Interestingly, the eastern church never identified her as a prostitute, but honored her throughout history as “the Apostle to the Apostles”. Read more at Mary of Magdala– Apostle to the Apostles
Mary Magdalene looking to the Risen Christ
The Gospel narratives give a prominence to women in the Jesus movement unusual in ancient society; this culminates in the extraordinary part which they play in Matthew’s, Mark’s and John’s accounts of the human discovery of the Resurrection. All three evangelists make women the first witnesses to the empty tomb and resurrection of Jesus; this is despite the fact that in Jewish Law women could not be considered as valid witnesses. The most prominent named woman, first in all three accounts, is Mary Magdalene (‘from Magdala’ in Galilee). She was a close associate of Jesus in his public ministry and has continued to arouse a set of variously motivated fascinations among Christians throughout the ages. Some overexcited modern commentators and mediocre novelists have even elevated her (on no good ancient evidence) to the status of Jesus’s wife.
(MacCulloch, Diarmaid (2010-02-25). Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, Kindle Edition. Search word: Magdalene