Abstract: The Ancient Synagogue and Village at Huqoq, Israel


Since 2011, Professor Magness has been directing excavations in the Roman-Byzantine village and synagogue of Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee.  In June 2012, excavations reached the synagogue’s floor and revealed that it is paved with stunning mosaics. One section, made of tiny stone cubes, depicts female faces flanking a Hebrew or Aramaic inscription referring to rewards for those who perform good deeds. Another section preserves part of a large male figure dressed in a Roman military-style tunic. To the figure’s left are pairs of foxes facing outwards, with their tails tied together and a lighted torch between them. This is a depiction of the episode related in Judges 15:4, in which Samson takes revenge on the Philistines by tying torches to the tails of three hundred foxes and releasing them to burn the agricultural fields.  In this slide-illustrated lecture, Magness presents an overview of the excavations, including the discoveries from the summer 2013 season.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Magness, J. 2013. Samson in the Synagogue. Biblical Archaeology Revew, 39.1: 32–39– 66–67.

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