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III. EARLIER TEACHING. SERMON IN THE SYNAGOGUE OF THE GALILEANS. It
must have been a year after I had first seen Jesus that I saw him
again the second time in Jerusalem. It fell out in this wise: I was
proceeding one morning to the meeting of the Sanhedrim, when, as I
came near the Synagogue of the Galilasans in the Fish- Market, I
found a crowd of men entering in. I asked one of them what was
going forward, and he said, " Jesus the Nazarene will expound the
Law." So I determined to take the morning service in this synagogue
rather than with my colleagues in the Temple, and went in, the
people giving way before me, as was my due as a member of the
Sanhedrim. Now, this synagogue of the Galilasans differed in naught
from the rest of the synagogues of the Jews. It cannot be that thou
hast not visited one of these when thou wast in the Holy City, but
perchance thy memory is dim after all these years, and I will in a
few words explain to theeits arrangement. In the wall at the west
end was the cabinet containing the scrolls of the Law, with a
curtain before it, for this is, as it were, the Holy of Holies of
the synagogue. The men go up to this, on to the platform before it,
by three steps. Then comes a vacant space, in the midst of which
stands a dais, with a reading-desk whereon the Law is read: this we
call by your Greek name bema. Then in the rest of the hall sit the
folk, arranged in benches one after another, somewhat as in your
theatres. Now, as I came in, they had said the morning psalms, and
most of the Eighteen Blessings, and shortly after the reading of
the Law began. The curtain was drawn aside from the holy ark, the
scroll of the Law was taken thence, to the singing of psalms unto
the bema. Then, as is customary, the messenger of the congregation
summoned first ...
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