Scribes and Synagogues

Lester L. Grabbe

in The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780199237777
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Scribes and Synagogues

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This article discusses scribes and synagogues. Scribes were the backbone of administration in the ancient and Hellenistic Near East. As those able to read and write, and trained in record keeping and document drafting, they were necessary in every society. When literacy and the production of writings are discussed in scholarly writings on the Bible, the place and importance of professional scribes is not always recognized. Synagogues first arose in the Diaspora to meet the needs of communities without easy access to the temple. This was probably about the third century BCE. They served as places of prayer and/or study, but would easily develop into some sort of central community institution. Only gradually did they filter into Palestine itself, where the temple was reasonably accessible.

Keywords: scribes; synagogues; Hellenistic period; record keeping; document drafting; Diaspora; temple

Article.  4573 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Judaism and Jewish Studies

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