David Couchman
David Couchman is the Director of Focus and the producer of the 'God: new evidence,' 'God and the Big Bang,' 'After Life?' and 'Jesus Myths' video series. More...

Digital Evangelism blog

The synagogue that Jesus knew at Capernaum

In 1905, the ruins of a synagogue were discovered at Capernaum in Galilee. This synagogue is built of white limestone, with fine stone carving. It has been dated to the 4th century AD.

For more about the excavation of the 4th century synagogue, go here.

Synagogue at Capernaum

Image courtesy of www.HolyLandPhotos.org

Archaeologists have since discovered the foundations of an earlier synagogue, dated to the first century, under the walls of the fourth-century ruins. These earlier foundations are in black basalt. Archaeologists believe that these are from the synagogue that existed in Capernaum at the time of Christ.

Foundations of first century synagogue
Image courtesy of www.HolyLandPhotos.org

For more information about the excavations of the first century synagogue go here. Capernaum (= 'village of Nahum', present day Tell Hum), is on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. There are sixteen references to Capernaum in the Gospels. It is the town where Jesus made his home, and for a while, he taught regularly every week in the synagogue there, according to Mark's Gospel chapter 1 verse 21-22 and Luke's Gospel chapter 4 verses 31-36. See also John's Gospel chapter 6 verse 59. Luke chapter 7 verses 1-10 records how Jesus healed the slave of a Roman soldier posted locally. The people encouraged Jesus to heal the slave because the Roman officer had built their synagogue - probably the same synagogue whose black basalt foundations can be seen in the picture above.

For more about the synagogue at Capernaum, see page 185 of 'Discoveries from Bible Times', by Professor Alan Millard, or go to the really excellent Capernaum web site.

Once again, we see that the Bible talks about real people and real places.

Back to 'Real people: real places'