Ancient Synagogue Seating Capacities
Did most Jews in late-antique Palestine regularly participate in synagogue worship? In this book, Chad Spigel suggests that it is possible to answer this question by determining and analyzing the seating capacities of ancient synagogue buildings. He begins with the creation of a methodology that can be used to calculate seating capacities, which is then applied to synagogues from the Roman and Byzantine Periods, thus creating a catalog of synagogue seating capacities for late-antique Palestine. The seating capacity data are then analyzed within the local demographic contexts in an effort to better understand local Jewish worship practices. By gathering and analyzing seating capacity and demographic data for more than fifty ancient synagogue buildings, the author not only shows that the extent of synagogue worship varied from place to place, he also provides an important resource for scholars of late-antique Judaism.