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Description: The rich tradition and profound spirituality of Judaism has touched people the world over for thousands of years. With the arrival in the Near East of Alexander the Great and the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, the synagogue came to represent a new era of this powerful religion, one which witnessed a greater emphasis on shared religious experience and prayer. In turn, the synagogue, derived from the Greek, meaning an "assembly," has come to mean the Jewish house of worship, evolving into a "sacred realm," in which the Torah came to play a central role linking the biblical past with the messianic future. Of course, the synagogue has been much more that a house of worship--it served the Jewish people as a place of learning, a community center, and often as the official seat of Jewish self-government. Indeed, it is the institution most closely associated with the development of post-biblical Judaism throughout the ages. Sacred Realm: The Emergence of the Synagogue in the Ancient World offers the first comprehensive history of the architectural and archaeological development of the synagogue from the third century BCE to 700 CE. Telling the story of over one hundred ancient synagogues throughout the world and their place in the history of Judaism and of Western civilization, this book provides a fascinating representation of the cultural, intellectual, and artistic achievements of three thousand years of Jewish experience. Informative essays detail every aspect of the ancient synagogue, while beautiful illustrations and maps take the reader to the actual historic site. Sacred Realm is an accompaniment to a monumental exhibition organized by the Yeshiva University Museum in New York. Borrowing from museums in North America, Europe, and Israel, the exhibition presents a unique collection of artifacts and manuscripts--including many pieces never before displayed in the United States--and will depict for the first time an in-depth history of the synagogue during the Greco-Roman period. From fourth-century Egyptian incense burners and inscribed bowl fragments to fifth-century Gaza mosaics decorated with Menorah and Shofar, Piyyut (liturgical poetry) manuscripts, and assorted textile, column, and pottery fragments, this collection is the most significant presentation of ancient Jewish religious life ever assembled in the United States. Lavishly illustrated with both color and black and white photographs of the artifacts, manuscripts, maps, site diagrams, and reconstructions, Sacred Realm is not only a detailed record of this historic exhibit, but a guide to the evolution of Judaism's most sacred institution.