Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


Ancient Near East, Archaeology, Book of Mormon Language


The Book of Mormon mentions synagogues in twenty-five passages. An important resource that may help us understand what the Book of Mormon means by the word synagogue is the body of research on biblical synagogues. This is especially true of research related to the years prior to the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, which began in 586 BC, since this is the time period when Lehi left Jerusalem. We would expect, therefore, that the nature of biblical synagogues before the captivity would have greatly influenced the concept of the synagogue that Lehi and his family took with them to the New World. In this article, William J. Adams Jr. details the historical development, nature, and cultural function of synagogues of the biblical era and relates them to the history, form, and religious function of synagogues in the New World.