Gamala

Aramaic: Gamla ("the Camel")

Fortified hillside town in the Golan 7 miles east of the Sea of Galilee, built on inaccessible slopes below a ridge shaped like the humps of a camel. Gamala was the hometown of Judah "the Galilean," who led a tax revolt against the Romans in 6 CE & whose descendents were leaders of radical revolutionary factions up through the war with Rome. Josephus reinforced the fortifications of the city; & it was the last settlement in the north to hold out against the Romans (67 CE). Rather than submit to capture the defenders jumped to their death in the ravines below. For modern archaeologists the primary importance of Gamala is its 65' x 53' synagogue, the only undisputed structure for public Jewish worship datable to the early 1st c. CE that has yet been discovered in Palestine.

References: Josephus, Antiquities 13.394-396; 18.4;
                  _____, War
1.105, 166; 4.4-8, 11-54, 62-83;
                  _____, Life 46-47, 58, 61, 114, 177-179, 183-185.

For further recent information about archaeological & historical evidence, see:

  • Rousseau, John J. & Rami Arav. Jesus & His World. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995) pp. 100-104.

Other resources on line:

Perspective on the World of Jesus

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