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Title: Religious Communities in Byzantine Palestina: the Relationship Between Judaism, Christianity and Islam, AD 400 - 700
Author: Ribak, Eliya
ISNI:       0000 0000 7849 649X
Awarding Body: The University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2006
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This is an archaeological analysis of the relationship between religious communities in Byzantine Palestina, based on a catalogue of excavated Byzantine sites in the region (forming an appendix to the work). After outlining the historical, archaeological and environmental.contexts of the study, the identification and dating of excavated synagogues and churches are re-evaluated. This shows that, although there are clear-cut examples of Jewish and Samaritan synagogues and Christian churches, these buildings are often so similar that it is difficult to differentiate between them. It is also shown that Jewish and Christian burial practices were so similar that, unless' accompanied inscriptions or symbols, the religious id~tity of burials is often difficult to recogmze. This suggests that different communities shared similar material cultures of religious practice, probably resulting from peaceful inter-communal interaction, and highlights chronological problems in the archaeology of Byzantine Palestina. Spatial analysis of reliably identified religious buildings is then used to show that different religious communities frequently occupied the same landscapes, and even the same settlements. The credibility ofusing symbols on portable artefacts to indicate religious identity is assessed, and supported, by examining their association with other religious indicators. Spatial analysis of these artefacts supports the patterns already established, strengthening the interpretation that different religious communities lived in close proximity. This evidence is used to argue for closer and more peaceful co-existence between religious communities in Byzantine Palestina than is usually supposed. It is suggested that this relative religious harmony contributed to the economic prosperity of the region in the Byzantine period. This apparently came to an end in the late sixth or seventh century, when most excavated Byzantine sites in the region were probably disused. Although other explanations (such as plague) are possible, this widespread abandonment may be a consequence of the Persian and/or Muslim invasions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available