Janus' Home

8

financial resources necessary to continue the job.60 However, there is no evidence that the paintings were done in distinct stages during the course of renovation and redecoration of the synagogue.61 Whether or not the exterior was also significantly altered to reflect the structure as a place of worship to passersby is controversial, but it is difficult to believe that an expansion of this scale, including the relocation of the synagogue's main entrance, would not have changed its public fašade quite obviously.62

The renovations of the structure fall into a general pattern of rebuilding and redecorating of public and private spaces which took place while the Romans occupied Dura.63 Though the city's overall standard of living declined in these years, and though there is little evidence that Dura's military forces traded with local merchants on a large scale, it seems that at least some residents benefitted from commerce with imperial forces.64 These particular residents appear to have included among their numbers the leading member, or members, of the Jewish community who commanded enough wealth and resources to direct such a complex and expensive design of expansion for the community's religious space. The disturbance that this sort of major construction would have caused to neighboring residences has suggested to L. Michael White that Jews may have owned the houses nearest the building, as well as those appropriated for synagogue space; possibly they belonged to the leading members of the community, either officials or patrons of the renovation, who were wealthy enough to be able to donate what may have been their private homes for communal use.65 Such a relatively grand project implies, then, that during Roman occupation, Dura's Jewish community was increasing in size and wealth, if not social status.66

The synagogue was situated on a quiet street within a residential sector of Dura along the city's western wall, but this fact is not as significant as Andrew Seager has claimed it to be.67 In his comparison of Dura's synagogue with the one at Sardis, he claims that the location of the building at Dura reflected a Jewish community which was physically and socially isolated from its non-Jewish neighbors because the synagogue stood in a private area with no direct access to the street.68 By contrast, the synagogue at Sardis was located inside part of a converted


60. Kelley, 158.
61. Moon, 611.
62. Both Seager (150-151) and Kraabel (1998, 100) argue that there were no external changes made during the second renovation that would signify the structure as a placed used by Jews, while White (93) presses for just the opposite view.
63. Matheson, 24; Pollard, 223-226.
64. Matheson, 24; Perkins, 30; Pollard, 225-226.
65. White, 86-87, 96-97.
66. Gates, 172, 174; Jensen, 181; Kilpatrick, 216; Levine, 172; Seager, 162; White, 77, 96-97.
67. Seager, 150.
68. Seager, 151-152, 155.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21