Dura Europos (2)

The synagogue at Dura Europos was discovered in 1932-1933, and is the most remarkable find at the site. It originated as a private house that was remodeled as a public building at the end of the first century. The synagogue underwent two phases. The first (ca. 244-245), hidden among private structures, was a rather small prayer house with paintings on its walls. Of greater interest, however, is the synagogue of the second phase dating from the middle of the third century. This building included a large court with three colonnades and a spacious prayer room with an alcove for the Torah Shrine in its southern wall facing Jerusalem. Under Samuel, the synagogue leader, paintings were added in 249-250. All four inner walls of the prayer room are covered with artistic impressions in five horizontal bands. The top and bottom are decorative; each of the three middle bands consist of twenty-eight panels portraying fifty-eight biblical scenes. The Jews of Dura Europos spoke Greek, and many images are explained with brief biblical citations in that language. This is the earliest known Jewish art.

Dura Parchment 24 is a Greek fragment of the Diatessaron discov­ered at Dura Europos on the coast of the Euphrates on March 5, 1933. It is preserved in Yale University’s parchment and papyrus collection. The fragment was buried in a rubbish heap that Romans built along the inner face of the western wall in preparation for a siege. The small scrap is of heavy parchment measuring roughly 9.5 x 10.5 cm.; it is frayed at the lower end and ripped or cut along the other three sides. Portions of fifteen lines of text are visible, fourteen of which can be restored. Its likely place of composition was Mesopotamia. The script suggests a date from the first half of the third century; the embankment in which it was found was constructed between 254 and 256. It is likely that the fragment belonged to a scroll used for worship, for a Christian chapel that was converted from a house between 222 and 235 stood nearby. Duro Parchment 24 is the earliest known text of the Diatessa­ron, and this strongly suggests a Greek original. If Tatian composed his work about 172, this fragment is less than eighty years removed from its autograph form.

DE 06 Frescos

DE 07 Church

DE 08 Church Setting

DE 09 Baptistry

DE 10 Diatessaron