Dura-Europos domus ecclesiae? Archaeology, Iconography & MSS

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
Whsn talking about a Jewish identition, we need to talk about the Jewish features it lacks, like a Torah niche. To maintain their Jesish identification they had to come up with an unique "Jewish house church", which seems an oxymoron term, and I have not heard of elsewhere. It is more likely, I light of other evidence to be a Christian house church with an atypical inscription than some unique Jewish institution never seen before, and has no documented history of. A Jewish House Church? The fact the.authors of the paper had to.come up with that term seems to say it all.
 

Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,012
All you can do at this point is state that you do not view the murals, building structure, graffiti, etc. as NOT being Christian if you disagree with the paradigm. You cannot twist the argument via the nomina sacra.
CORECTION: remove highlighted item.

To wit: cannot give any one item from a set (e.g. nomina sacra (NS)) disproportionate weighting in a probability equation. IOW, the NS is being used for verification and not probability. If we had verification then we would not need the probability assessment.
 
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May 2011
2,793
Rural Australia
Whsn talking about a Jewish identition, we need to talk about the Jewish features it lacks, like a Torah niche. To maintain their Jesish identification they had to come up with an unique "Jewish house church", which seems an oxymoron term, and I have not heard of elsewhere. It is more likely, I light of other evidence to be a Christian house church with an atypical inscription than some unique Jewish institution never seen before, and has no documented history of. A Jewish House Church? The fact the.authors of the paper had to.come up with that term seems to say it all.
While I mull over the statistical stuff thanks for repeating this question.

SEE:
The Synagogue, Volume 8, Part 1
By Carl Hermann Kraeling

The Synagogue

He refers to the Jewish structure at Dura as a "house-synagogue". This is what is meant by a Jewish house church.

A house in which a room is devoted to being a "religious room".

The Three Christian building structures:

CHURCH
CHURCH HOUSE
HOUSE CHURCH

The idea is that - in general - there are a parallel three Jewish bulding structures

TEMPLE / SYNAGOGUE
SYNAGOGUE HOUSE
HOUSE SYNAGOGUE

The OP asks to what extent (if any) may the religious room be a second Jewish exemplar at Dura.


JEWISH FEATURES

David and Goliath, Adam and Eve, and perhaps the woman at the well mural art might be perceived as having some interest on Jewish literature.
This is a start. I understand that the Jewish "house synagogue" at Dura has a large mural series from the Jewish Bible, and that the murals in the "chapel" are nowhere near as comprhensively Jewish. However didnt you agree somewhere back on this discussion that the three murals mentioned above, when taken individualy, could have been just as much Jewish as Christian?

I have been trying to work out which of the four walls would we expect to see a Torah niche upon if these peope were Jewish? Which direction was Jerusalem?






RE: STATS

Thanks for the responses about the stats Cepheus. I think you may be right in maintaining a flat view where all items are equal. However I am still thinking about evidence categories (inscriptions, nomina sacra, mural-art, font). And also about how I can replicate the high degree of certainty in the Yale Paradigm with this;
Thanks again. Wont be too long to reply.
 
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Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,012
Whsn talking about a Jewish identition, we need to talk about the Jewish features it lacks, like a Torah niche. To maintain their Jesish identification they had to come up with an unique "Jewish house church", which seems an oxymoron term, and I have not heard of elsewhere.
Add to that a menorah.

It is more likely, I light of other evidence to be a Christian house church with an atypical inscription than some unique Jewish institution never seen before, and has no documented history of. A Jewish House Church? The fact the.authors of the paper had to.come up with that term seems to say it all.
Agreed.

And, to be honest, we don't have any foundational evidence for what a typical Christian wall inscription is.

If we had a manuscript lacking the NS then that is one thing. The inscriptions at the DE are something else. They are wall art. I would maintain that the absence of a line would not definitively tell us that it is not a Christian artifact.

Nevertheless, the final report shows a line over the Proclus Graffito and everyone here can see faint traces of a line, other than the border line, from the pictures over part of the NS.
 
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Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
While I mull over the statistical stuff thanks for repeating this question.

SEE:
The Synagogue, Volume 8, Part 1
By Carl Hermann Kraeling

The Synagogue

He refers to the Jewish structure at Dura as a "house-synagogue". This is what is meant by a Jewish house church.
The building lacked the features of a synagogue, the Torah niche, menorah and others. He created a new , never seen before category, which you say "house synagogue". If he has to create a new category of buildings , then his identification with Jewish groups is far worse than his rejection of Christian house church.

A house in which a room is devoted to being a "religious room".

The Three Christian building structures:

CHURCH
CHURCH HOUSE
HOUSE CHURCH

The idea is that - in general - there are a parallel three Jewish bulding structures

TEMPLE / SYNAGOGUE
SYNAGOGUE HOUSE
HOUSE SYNAGOGUE

The OP asks to what extent (if any) may the religious room be a second Jewish exemplar at Dura.
Christian house churches are a know entitiy. The house synagogue is something unique, he has to create because it doesn't fit known existing categories . The house church fills the role of the synagogue, which can be house size. The synagogue in Duras is, even though a larger house than the house church, and it has the Torah niche and other features expected of a synagogue.

There were no churches at the time of Delivery, that came later. And how does a Church House and House Church differ? Seems like you are creating categories so you can force an artificial analogies that doesn't exist.

> [B said:
JEWISH FEATURES[/B]

David and Goliath, Adam and Eve, and perhaps the woman at the well mural art might be perceived as having some interest on Jewish literature.
This is a start. I understand that the Jewish "house synagogue" at Dura has a large mural series from the Jewish Bible, and that the murals in the "chapel" are nowhere near as comprhensively Jewish. However didnt you agree somewhere back on this discussion that the three murals mentioned above, when taken individualy, could have been just as much Jewish as Christian?
Every image from the OT can ewually be Christian or Jewish. But there are NT images as well, that best fit NT stories not OT ones, that despite you effort don't fit an OT scenario. Distinctly Jewish features like menorahs, which can not be confuse for Christians ones, are missing, which argues against a Jewish identification.

I have been trying to work out which of the four walls would we expect to see a Torah niche upon if these peope were Jewish? Which direction was Jerusalem?

RE: STATS

Thanks for the responses about the stats Cepheus. I think you may be right in maintaining a flat view where all items are equal. However I am still thinking about evidence categories (inscriptions, nomina sacra, mural-art, font). And also about how I can replicate the high degree of certainty in the Yale Paradigm with this;
Thanks again. Wont be too long to reply.
If we have to invent new categories of Jewish buildings to justify a Jewish identification , you have a problem. There are a number of Christian features that you can argue might not be, but it is more likely they are Christian than there is a brand new invented category of Jewish buildings
 
May 2011
2,793
Rural Australia
Christian house churches are a know entitiy. The house synagogue is something unique, he has to create because it doesn't fit known existing categories .
You dont seem to understand that Carl Hermann Kraeling himself refers to the Jewish synagogue at Dura as a "house synagogue".

There were no churches at the time of Delivery, that came later.
Agreed. Let's define a church to mean a building that has been constructed and consecrated to be a Christian church. Pagan temples are archaeogical parallels - constructed by the followers of one divinity or another. The Jewish Temple destroyed by the Romans would be a Jewish "church" structure.

And how does a Church House and House Church differ? Seems like you are creating categories so you can force an artificial analogies that doesn't exist.
A Church house is a private building which has been dedicated entirely for religious function. OTOH a house church is a private building in which one room has been dedicated entirely for religious function. These categories are not just being created. The problem is we have no examplars of a Christian church or a Christian church house before the 4th century.

What we do have are three possible exemplars of a Christian house church prior to the 4th century.
(1) Dura Europos: under discussion (definitely dated to the 3rd century)
(2) "Peter's House" in Capernaum (could be as late a 4th century)
(3) "The Centurion's Chapel" at Megido (could be 4th century).


If we have to invent new categories of Jewish buildings to justify a Jewish identification , you have a problem.
If anyone invented the term it was Carl Hermann Kraeling. Yale. I think all that he implied by refering to the Jewish synagogue as a "house synagogue" was that, from an archaeological perspective, they were both originally private houses in which one room had been renovated and reserved for religious function. That is, the Jewish "house synagogue" and the Christian house church at Dura were parallel categories of building structure.

Every image from the OT can ewually be Christian or Jewish. But there are NT images as well, that best fit NT stories not OT ones, that despite you effort don't fit an OT scenario. Distinctly Jewish features like menorahs, which can not be confuse for Christians ones, are missing, which argues against a Jewish identification.
I have revised a statistical test of the degree of certainty to be associated with the Yale Paradigm (i.e. that the strucure is Christian) and you are welcome to make your own objective assessment against each of the items of primary evidence identified in the "religious sanctuary room".

Here is the terminology I will be using:

Certain (100%)
Almost Certain (87-99%)
Probable (61-86%)
Chances about EVEN (40-60%)


There are no degrees of pregnancy. You can`t be a little bit pregnant.

Christian or non-Christian....it`s make your mind up time.
So yeah....I`m pretty much 100%.
Concan will be able to assess each of the items as 100% Christian and thereby get a 100% certain result.
I am exceedingly wary of subscribing to such a degree of certainty. History is hypothetical.

Others should be able to produce a Christian % > 86% if they think the Yale Paradigm is "almost certain".

Other investigators may simply be content to say the Yale Paradigm is "probable". (Christian % > 60%)

My argument will be that the Yale paradigm is a coin flip (Christian % < 61%).

Stand by for the revised "flat version" Yale Paradigm simulator.
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,266
Lago Maggiore, Italy
The basic problem is that without having the possibility to check, directly, the material c/o Yale, we can go on for the rest of our life to debate if DE is a coin flip or a Christian house churce. With what we have got from Yale, that's not a coin flip. Nomina Sacra and the presence of a Christian theological work in the nearby are really meaningful reading keys [which require only a very little interpretation], well more meaningful than the absence of Jewish liturgical details.

The real point is to verify the report.

I'm meeting the same problem in the field of Egyptology, but there I'm able [thanks to Griffith Institute and archive.org, I think I've already done this comparison] to observe the original objects or detailed drawings [and having different versions by different authors I'm even able to detect mistakes, like in a work by Lepsius regarding "Saakare" ... who actually was Smenkhkare, he copied the hieroglyphics in a bad way, comparing his drawing with the one of a French researcher the matter became clear].

Personally I've individuated a pivotal item to check: the depiction where there would be a Nomen Sacrum. I'm talking about the inscription exposed at Yale and where in a report they saw a Nomen Sacrum, while today, with all the due effort, I'm not able to see it.

It's all evident that if the author of the report "imagined", "supposed", "was persuaded" to see that Nomen Sacrum, but reality is that it's not there, we should reconsider the value of that report. But Yale considers the report valid. Probably they think that time has modified what we can see on the piece. And may be they think it's useless to check it again now. Anyway, a direct request of information by me has been addressed to a researcher c/o Yale [by the crew at Yale, who answered to my request] and honestly I haven't obtained an answer. I repeat that Yale is entitled to ignore me and Historum, even considering definitive the original work [so there is no reason to check it again]. So I'm not surprised or disappointed. The consequence of this is that only following academic ways [and paying] it would be possible to check that piece again. I've got the contact of the researcher [also her Facebook profile], but I don't use to annoy scholars who ignore me.

So, at the end, I stay with what I've got: Yale's conclusions. Keeping alive in my mind a doubt. The presence of the Nomen Sacrum on that piece is not a matter of interpretation or of "professional eye". One can see it or not. If I cannot see it, I need a scientific explanation why I don't see it. Here the professional eye can help, but no professional has explained the matter to me.
 

Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,012
Personally I've individuated a pivotal item to check: the depiction where there would be a Nomen Sacrum. I'm talking about the inscription exposed at Yale and where in a report they saw a Nomen Sacrum, while today, with all the due effort, I'm not able to see it.
The inscription is not part of a manuscript (this we know) and possibly a product of some craftsman who was not versed in manuscript preparation. Maybe there were people overseeing the project who new manuscript conventions, or, maybe not. We do not know.

The inscription is fundamentally just wall art.

How do we know exactly what we are looking for ?

Based on this, any expectation would be just a projection. That is why I caution adding any undue influence to it. This particular "wall art" could have 100 items in its set of "what ifs". We are viewing this from the perspective of 2019 and have to be careful about all of our hypotheticals.

With all of our toil, the most we could do, IMO, if we really have problems with the NS, is rate it at .50 based on all the static. This really would not have much affect on the overall paradigm.

That is why I have argued for a straight statistical interpretation based on the coding of all the elements at the DE. e.g., layout of house, murals, mural program, baptistry and etc.

I agree that the reading keys are meaningful enough to establish the foundation for a Christian paradigm.
 
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Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,012
So, at the end, I stay with what I've got: Yale's conclusions. Keeping alive in my mind a doubt. The presence of the Nomen Sacrum on that piece is not a matter of interpretation or of "professional eye". One can see it or not. If I cannot see it, I need a scientific explanation why I don't see it. Here the professional eye can help, but no professional has explained the matter to me.
The only realistic purpose that I can envision for us here is embodied in this question:

For the structure in question: is the Yale paradigm of a Christian House Church in Dura-Europos REASONABLE based on what we know ?

Based on what we know, IMHO, the only rational answer would be in the affirmative.
 
Sep 2015
315
ireland
KJ....If you could produce evidence that Kraeling was some kind of Christian fundamentalist who hijacked the entire process and invented overbars where none ever existed....the Christian/non-Christian context would still be nowhere near a coin flip. It would be interesting to see some notes/evidence as to how the final report was able to confirm overbars, but apart from that, I don`t see where else you can go with this. I commend you for your stubborn persistence in the face of what I consider insurmountable odds, but I`m done. Life is too short.
 

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