Shaping Religious Space in Roman and Late Antique Sepphoris

Zeev Weiss

ISAW Visiting Research Scholar

In the heart of the Lower Galilee, midway between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Galilee, around five kilometers west of Nazareth, lie the remains of Sepphoris, capital of the Galilee during long periods of antiquity. Established as a Roman polis in the early second century, Sepphoris boasted an impressive grid of streets, with the colonnaded cardo and decumanus running through its center as well as various public and private buildings located throughout the city. This lecture will focus on the cultic buildings known to date in Sepphoris -- a Roman temple, two churches, and a synagogue -- and will discuss their implications for the study of the architectural development, social structure, religious behavior, and cultural relationships between the Jews and other segments of society in this late antique city.

Zeev Weiss is the Eleazar L. Sukenik Professor of Archaeology at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Trained in Classical Archaeology, he specializes in Roman and Late Antique art and architecture in the provinces of Syria-Palestine. His interests lie in various aspects of town-planning, architectural design, and mosaic art, as well as the evaluation of archaeological finds in light of the socio-cultural behavior of Jewish society and its dialogue with Graeco-Roman culture and Christian cultures. As Director of the Sepphoris excavations on behalf of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, his work has contributed greatly to understanding the architectural development and character of the city throughout its history. His publications include many articles as well as two major volumes: The Sepphoris Synagogue: Deciphering an Ancient Message through Its Archaeological and Socio-Historical Contexts (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 2005) and Public Spectacles in Roman and Late Antique Palestine (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014). Prof. Weiss will be a Visiting Research Scholar at ISAW during spring 2016.

Admission to lecture closes 10 minutes after scheduled start time.

Reception to follow.

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