The Ark or Model of Synagogue at Capernaum

A 4th-century limestone bears the image of a building on wheels. There are two theories concerning this image. First, it is possible that this is an image of a model which was used by the architects for the building of a monumental building, perhaps the synagogue. Second, it is possible that this is an image of the ark in which Torah scrolls were kept or a reminiscence of the destroyed Jerusalem Temple. Some scholars have theorized that arks in this period were often placed on carts that could be rolled out before the congregation at the start of Sabbath services. The cart was then stored in a safe chamber for the rest of the week. However, it should be noted that the Franciscan excavators of the site have negated this latter theory on the basis that they discovered two symmetrical "aediculae" or arks that decorated both sides of the main entrance, and thus there would have bee no need for a mobile cart for the ark.


Ark or Model of Synagogue
Image Credit: Samson Tours

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