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Unstructured synagogue: Synagogue without walls, Virtual Synagogue

A Home-based Synagogue ?


The early ekklesia(church)’s period often saw worship take place in homes. When did larger group gatherings become normative again for the congregation?  when did believers begin to met outside the home? Can the move-away from home-based worship be credited to Romanism?


In the very early years worship was still in the synagogues. So worship went from public places to be driven out, then was restored to public places. Household meetings tended to be for emergency or preparation times. Though, emergencies could last decades.

Generally speaking, the ekklesia (church) met in private homes or other existing structures for about the first 300 years after New Testament times. Probably sometime after Constantine legalized Catholicism did the first purpose-built ekklesia(church) buildings rise.

There is also the case of the lecture hall of Tyrannus that Paul used in Ephesus after the synagogue became too hostile a venue. I haven’t been to Ephesus, but I saw a similar structure in Messene in the Peloponnese, and it looked very much like the sort of public auditorium we would be used to in a university. Even when the synagogue was no longer available, Paul was keen to use a public place.   I think we have to remember too that the homes were very different as well. Most likely it would have been the homes of richer church members (like Lydia) that were used, and these were far from being intimate or informal places. After all, it was home to a large number of slaves and other workers as well, with areas for receiving clients and for public receptions. Most had a large, formal courtyard, not much different from the sort of space we associate with a church building.


1. Going to Church by Staying at Home

2. A non-profit headed by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach — author of “Kosher Sex” and a onetime adviser to Michael Jackson — wants to convert a caretaker’s house on his 1.65-acre Englewood property into a small synagogue.

3. Neighbours fed up with home-based shul | The Canadian Jewish



About Orekh Schriftsteller

Orekh Schriftsteller. It is the online pen-name of author and Managing Director of DM Enterprises.


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