Conference program: “The Synagogue in Ancient Palestine” (Helsinki, Sept 21-24, 2016)

The program for the conference “The Synagogue in Ancient Palestine: Current Issues and Emerging Trends” is now available. The conference will be held from Wednesday 21 September to Saturday 24 September 2016 and includes speakers from Finland, Norway, Russia, the Netherlands, United States, Canada, Israel and Slovakia.

Wednesday September 21, 2016
Location: University of Helsinki, Porthania Building (Yliopistonkatu 3), Sali II

18:00 Public lecture organized by the Finnish Institute in the Middle East (FIME): “Samson in Stone: New Discoveries in the Ancient Village and Synagogue at Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee”, Prof. Dr. Jodi Magness (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
19:00 Reception for conference participants

Thursday September 22, 2016
Location: University of Helsinki, Main building (Yliopistonkatu 4/Favianinkatu 33), Sali 10

9:15-9:30 Opening words by organizers
Session 1: Contextualizing synagogue art
9:30-10:20 Keynote lecture: Visual vs. Virtual Reality: Interpreting Synagogue Mosaic Art
Zeev Weiss (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)
10:20-10:50 A Re-reading of the Japhi’a Circle
Géza G. Xeravits (Selye J. University, Slovakia)
10:50-11:20 Coffee & tea break
11:20-11:50 The Style of the Synagogue of Beth Alpha Mosaics
Lidia Chakovskaya (Moscow State University, Russia)
11:50-12:20 The Appearance of the Menorah in Ancient Jewish Art
Gary Gilbert (Claremont McKenna College, USA)
12:20-13:50 Lunch break
Session 2: Leadership, power and daily life in the synagogues
 13:50-14:40 Keynote lecture: Writing as Power: Texts, Pictures, and Daily Life in Ancient Levantine Synagogues
Karen B. Stern (CUNY Brooklyn College, USA)
 14:40-15:10 The Role of Jewish Priests in Early Synagogue Leadership and Worship
Matthew J. Grey (Brigham Young University, USA)
 15:10-15:40  Coffee & tea break
 15:40-16:10 The Upper Room as Triclinium? Textual and material evidence
Eric Ottenheijm (University of Utrecht, the Netherlands)
16:10-16:40 The Art of Persuasion: The Socio-Political Context of Public Synagogue Debates in the Second-Temple Period
Jordan J. Ryan (Wheaton College, USA)
17:30-18:30  Visit to the Helsinki Synagogue (Rabbi Simon Livson)
19:00  Dinner for conference presenters

Friday September 23, 2016
Location: University of Helsinki, Main building (Yliopistonkatu 4/Favianinkatu 33), Sali 10

Session 3: Synagogues in the late antique landscape
9:30-10:20 Keynote lecture: Floors, Benches, and a Platform. The Synagogue at Horvat Kur as Liturgical Space
Jürgen K. Zangenberg (Leiden University, the Netherlands)
10:20-10:50 Galilean Synagogues in the Context of Ancient Religious Competition
Raimo Hakola (University of Helsinki, Finland)
10:50-11:20 Coffee & tea break
11:20-11:50 How Many Synagogues Were Found, Where and Why?
Chaim Ben David (Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee, Israel)
11:50-12:20 The Torah shrine in Byzantine synagogues
Ulla Tervahauta (University of Helsinki, Finland)
12:20-13:50 Lunch break
Session 4: Early synagogues and the 70 CE ‘watershed’
13:50-14:20 The Early Roman Synagogue at Khirbet Qana
Tom McCollough (Centre College, USA)
14:20-14:50 Reassessing the Impact of 70 CE on the Origins and Development of Palestinian Synagogues
Wally Cirafesi & Anders Runesson (University of Oslo, Norway)
14:50-15:20  Coffee & tea break
15:20-15:50 A Jewish Village and a Public Building from the Second Temple Period and the Bar Kokhba Revolt at Horvat ‘Ethri, Judean Shephelah
Boaz Zissu (Bar Ilan University, Israel)
15:50-16:20 Early Synagogues: Some thoughts on the why and how of their appearance
Rick Bonnie (University of Helsinki, Finland)

Saturday September 24, 2016
Location: University of Helsinki, Main building (Yliopistonkatu 4/Favianinkatu 33), Auditorium XIII

Session 5: Dating the late antique synagogues
9:30-10:20 Keynote lecture: The Huqoq Synagogue: A Regional Variant of the Galilean Type
Jodi Magness (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA)
10:20-10:50 Ancient Synagogue Dating and the Primary Source Data Divide
Chad Spigel (Trinity University, USA)
10:50-11:20 Coffee & tea break
11:20-11:50 Dating Capernaum Synagogue by Stylistic Method. Some Aspects of its Reconstruction
Svetlana Tarkhanova (Russian Academy of Architecture and Building Science, Russia)
11:50-12:20 Supporting a regional typology of the ancient synagogues in Israel
Mordechai Aviam (Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee, Israel)
12:20-13:00 Discussion and closing words by organizers
13:00-14:30 Lunch break
14:30-17:00 Helsinki city center tour (optional)

Please note that unforeseen program changes may occur.

To download a booklet with the full program, abstracts, and other information, click here. For the initial call for papers and additional information see here.

Funding for the conference is generously provided by the Centre of Excellence in Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions and the Centre of Excellence in Reason and Religious Recognition, both Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki. The conference is organized in co-operation with the Foundation of the Finnish Institute in the Middle East.