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Museum of the Good Samaritan

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Background of the Museum of the Good Samarithan

 

The muesum displays mainly mosaics and other artifacts found in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The idea behind this museum and its selection of mosaics was inspired by the Parable of the Good Samaritan in the New Testament (Luke 10:25-37). this parable includes men of three different faitths: Hesus, the founder of Christianity, Jews, and a Samaritan who performs a merciful deed.  Accordingly, the museum exhibits mosaics and other articfacts from both Jewish and Samaritan synagogues, as well as from ancient churches discovered in the region.

 

Samaritans and Jews separated after the destsruction of Samaria and Jerusalem at the end of the First Temple period; they nevertheless remained akin owing to their mutual devotion to the Torah. Although Christianity stemmed from Judaism at the end of the Second temple period, it distanced itself from the latter, and became a different and separate religion. the Samaritan mosaics are very similar to the Jewish ones, while the church mosaics are different.

 

The art of mosaic eveolved in the Greek world in the 4th century BCE and reached the Land of Isarael during the Hellenistic period and developed towards the end of the Second Temple and the roman periods. Its scope expanded in the Land of Israel and beyond in the Byuzantine period (fourthe to seventh centturies CE) and it became the chief means of paving public building,s private homes, bathhouses, churches and synagogues.

 

The muesum exhibits mosaics taken from various sites in order to preserve and protect them from damage and destruction.  The museum features an open air display showcasing mosacis from the synagagoue at Gaza and from Churches in  Khirbet el-Latatin, north of Jerusalem and near Givat Ze'ev, Khirbet Huriya (excavated in 2004) near Modi'in, Khirbet Bureikut on the road from Bethlehem to Hebron and a mosaic from Khirbet Beit Sila which is located in Nahal Modi'im, north of Jerusalem that was excavated in the 1990's. A number of other mosaics are featured outside while inside the museum there are mosaics from Jewish Synagogues, inscriptions , Samaritan synagogues and Churches.

 

the excavations and development of the site were undertaken by the Staff Officer of Archaeology in Jdea and Samaria and the Restoration department of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

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