Franz Joseph Dölger-Institut

zur Erforschung der Spätantike

From Synagogue to Church. The Appropriation of the Synagogue of Gerasa/Jerash under Justinian

JbAC 61 (2018) Seiten: 85-98

mit Taf. 5-8. - This article focuses on the so-called Synagogue Church in Gerasa, one of the Decapolis-cities lo-cated in northern Jordan. During recent excavations a complex related to the church-phase of the ›Synagogue Church‹ was discovered. The complex held extensive mosaic floors with inscriptions dedicated by the Electi Iustiniani, special forces in the army of Justinian, a hitherto unknown unit of soldiers. In the light of this evidence, it is now possible to add details to the history of the church and its preceding phase as a synagogue and to discuss how the transition from synagogue to church might have taken place. In this article we revisit the evidence from earlier excavations in Gerasa related to the Synagogue Church and discuss the new archaeological evidence as well as comparati-ve material from other parts of the Roman Empire relating to the conversion of synagogues into churches in order to place and discuss the broader phenomenon of conversions and appropriations of synagogues into churches within a Roman imperial framework.

Achim Lichtenberger / Rubina Raja