Golan Archaeological Museum

A wreath of snakes, tied with a Herculean knot, and two eagles decorate this third-century C.E. basalt lintel found in the village of Dabbura, in the Golan. The lintel, similar to those used in several synagogues in the Golan and Galilee, suggests that, at this time, Jewish authorities did not apply the biblical injunction against animal and human imagery to bas-relief sculpture. The Hebrew inscription hints that at least one leading figure strongly approved this decoration. It reads: “This is the academy of the Rabbi Eli’ezer ha-Qappar,” referring to a rabbi frequently cited in the Mishnah, the codification of Jewish law compiled about 200 C.E.