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Uncovering the Kingdom of Heaven: Archaeological Exploration and the Gospel of Matthew

Kitchen, Merrill (2010) Uncovering the Kingdom of Heaven: Archaeological Exploration and the Gospel of Matthew. Buried History. The Journal of the Australian Institute of Archaeology, 46. pp. 19-28. ISSN ISSN 0007-6260


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The ‘Kingdom of God’ is a common term found in the New Testament Gospels as a descriptor of the reign of God, but the Gospel of Matthew uniquely and consistently replaces this term with the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’. Interestingly, the mosaic art uncovered in a number of second to fifth century CE synagogues excavated over the last sixty years in Israel-Palestine also portray the heavens symbolically using the form of zodiacs and surrounding them with symbols of Israel’s ancient story. In particular, the story board of the mosaic floor of an excavated fifth-century CE synagogue in Zippori (Sepphoris) shows remarkable similarities with a narrative structure discernible within the Gospel of Matthew. This may point to a period of common cultural understanding, and even dialogue, between Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity.

Item Type: Published Articles
Repository Version: Published Version
Keywords: synagogue mosaics, Jewish zodiacs, Gospel of Matthew, depicting kingdom concepts
Fields of Research: 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210310 Middle Eastern and African History
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950404 Religion and Society
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subjects: B - New Testament
College/Association with University of Divinity: STC: Stirling Theological College
Depositing User: Rev Merrill Kitchen
Date Deposited: 31 May 2011 02:50
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2012 02:13
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/866

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