Zev Radovan

“Theodotus son of Vettenus … rebuilt this synagogue for the reading of the Law and the teaching of the commandments … ” reads the beginning of this first-century A.D. inscription discovered in 1914 south of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. The inscription is written in Greek and appears on a 25-by-16.6-inch limestone plaque. Though the synagogue Theodotus referred to has not been found, the inscription shows that synagogues existed even when the Temple was standing. Unlike their later counterparts, these earliest synagogues may not have been places for prayer but rather for study, reading of the law and for social purposes.