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Inscriptions in Corinth

October 2009
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Visiting Corinth last September, my student liked to check up some of the more famous inscriptions there. The two most famous probably are the Synagogue inscription, and the Erastus Inscription.

The Synagogue inscription is now placed on the wall in the entrance building; Turn around just after you have entered the site, and there it is:
meg+synagogeinskr
I must confess I find it very hard to believe that this has ever been an inscription placed on the wall of an actual synagogue. Its letters are very crude and unevenly carved. In my opinion, it might have been a mocking inscription, or a preliminary one. What du you think?
It was discovered by some archaeologists in 1898, and many suggest that the inscription, carved in a large block of limestone, appears to have come from the doorway to a synagogue. It was found on the Lechaion Road, and comes probably from the 4-5th century. It is written in Greek, and the letters can be read thus:
“. . . GOGE EBR . . .”
= [SYNA]GOGE EBR[AION]
— which can be translated as “Synagogue of the Hebrews [= Jews].”
synagogue inscription
The Inscription is used in many textsbooks as evidence for the presence of Jews in Corinth, sometimes even as evidence for the presence of Jews in the times of Paul.
I don’t think it should be doubted that there were Jews in Corinth at his time, but the inscription is secondary, and perhaps even dubious.

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