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Chorazin

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Chorazin (pronounced /koʊˈreɪzɪn/; Korazim Karraza, Kh. Karazeh, Chorizim, Kerazeh, Korazin) was a village in northern Galilee, two and a half miles from Capernaum on a hill above the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

In Talmudic times, Korazim was a Jewish town renowned for its good wheat. In the 16th century, Jewish fishermen used to reside here.

Biblical references

Chorazin, along with Bethsaida and Capernaum, was named in the New Testament gospels of Matthew and Luke as "cities" (more likely just villages) in which Jesus performed "mighty works". However, because these towns rejected his work ("they had not changed their ways" -Matt11:20SV), they were subsequently cursed (Matthew 11:20-24; Luke 10:13-15).

Due to the condemnation of Jesus, some early Medieval writers believed that the Antichrist would be born in Chorazin. This idea which was referenced by M. R. James in his story "Count Magnus." James's story is, in turn, obliquely referred to in the song "Spectre Vs Rector," performed by rock group The Fall on their album Dragnet.

Biblical scholars who accept the two-source hypothesis state that this story originally came from the Q document. Despite this textual evidence, archaeologists have not yet been successful in finding a settlement dating to the 1st century.

In addition to the reference in the gospels, Chorazin is mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud, (Menahot, 85a) as a town known for its grain.

Archaeology

Korazim is now the site of a National Archaeological Park. Extensive excavations and a survey were carried out at in 1962-1964. Excavations at the site were resumed in 1980-1987.

The site is an excavated ruin today, but was inhabited starting in the 1st century. It is associated with modern day Kerazeh.

The majority of the structures are made from black basalt, a volcanic rock found locally. The main settlement dates to the 3rd and 4th centuries. A mikvah, or ritual bath, was also found at the site. The handful of olive millstones used in olive oil extraction found suggest a reliance on the olive for economic purposes, like a number of other villages in ancient Galilee.

The town's ruins are spread over an area of 25 acres, subdivided into five separate quarters, with a synagogue in the centre. The large, impressive Synagogue which was built with black basalt stones and decorated with Jewish motifs is the most striking survival. Close by is a ritual bath, surrounded by public and residential buildings.

Synagogue

The 3rd century synagogue was destroyed in the 4th century and rebuilt in the 5th.

An unusual feature in an ancient synagogue is the presence of three-dimensional sculpture, a pair of stone lions.[1] A similar pair of three-dimensional lions was found in the synagogue at Kfar Bar'am.[2] Other carvings, which are thought to have originally been brightly painted, feature images of wine-making, animals, a Medusa, an armed soldier, and an eagle.[3]

Sources

  • Z. Yeivin, The Synagogue at Korazim; The 1962 - 1964, 1980 - 1987 Excavations, Israel Antiquities Authority Reports, Israel Antiquities Authority, 2000.

References

  1. Steven Fine, Art and Judaism in the Greco-Roman world: toward a new Jewish archaeology, Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 190.
  2. Steven Fine, Art and Judaism in the Greco-Roman world: toward a new Jewish archaeology, Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 190.
  3. Steven Fine, Art and Judaism in the Greco-Roman world: toward a new Jewish archaeology, Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 92.

External links

Coordinates: 32°54′41″N 35°33′50″E / 32.9113720°N 35.5637755°E / 32.9113720; 35.5637755pt:Corazim ru:Коразим

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