Evan Carter

Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Religious Studies

Major Professor

James Strange, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Cass Fisher, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael DeJonge, Ph.D.


mosaics, zodiac, temple, Christopher Tilley


With the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, more than an iconic symbol of Jewish identity was destroyed. As the epicenter of religious life for Jews within the land of Israel, the Temple stood as both a symbol for religious hope and as the physical embodiment of Judaism. Yet, in the centuries that would follow synagogue’s like the one found at Beth Alpha would come to fill its absence.

In this thesis I will demonstrate how the use of Christopher Tilley’s theory of the solid metaphor helps us to better understand both the art and architecture of the Beth Alpha synagogue and the synagogue’s connection to the then absent Temple. I argue that by conceptualizing this synagogue as a solid metaphor for the Temple, we can interpret how the paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations found in the composition of the mosaic carpets present sacred space. Through this application of Tilley’s theory, I argue that we can model this paradigm off of Ezekiel’s vision of the Temple.

Included in

Religion Commons