BIBLE HISTORY DAILY

Inn from the Good Samaritan Parable Becomes a Museum

Israeli archaeologist Yitzhak Magen brings together mosaics from synagogues and churches in Israel

Inn from the Good Samaritan Parable Becomes a Museum

The site of the inn from the Good Samaritan parable in Luke’s gospel has been restored and converted into a museum by Israeli archaeologist Yitzhak Magen and his team. Drawing on the relevance of the parable for Jews, Samaritans and Christians, Yitzhak Magen decided that the new museum would feature important mosaics and reconstructions from Jewish and Samaritan synagogues and Christian churches in Israel.

The Good Samaritan parable begins on the ancient road between Jerusalem and Jericho, where a man is robbed, brutally beaten and given up for dead before finally being helped by a passing Samaritan. The Samaritan brings the injured man to an inn and pays for his care before continuing on his journey. Although no additional details are given in Luke’s gospel as to the whereabouts of the inn, by the fifth century, the church father Jerome writes that the site of the inn is identified as Ma’ale Adummim, along the Jerusalem-Jericho road, and that there is a way-station for travelers located there.

In the late 1990s, Yitzhak Magen, the staff officer of archaeology for the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, began an excavation at Ma’ale Adummim. He discovered that the site had been rebuilt in several historical periods—the late Second Temple period, the Byzantine period, the Crusader period and the Ottoman period—and in every phase the site had apparently functioned as a khan, or way-station for travelers. In the Byzantine period a church was also built at the site (in the basilical style, like many early churches in Israel), suggesting its importance as a pilgrimage site for early Christians. The floor of the church was once a beautiful mosaic of geometric patterns that had largely disappeared in modern times, so Yitzhak Magen decided that he and his team would restore the mosaic based on early photographs taken before the tiles had disappeared.

After the successful restoration of the church’s mosaic floor, Yitzhak Magen decided that he would take the project further and, using the newly acquired expertise of his mosaic team, create a mosaic museum at the site. Because the Good Samaritan parable is connected to Jews, Samaritans and Christians, Yitzhak Magen determined that the new museum would feature mosaics important to all three religions. He brought important mosaics (or reconstructions if the original was already displayed elsewhere) from Jewish and Samaritan synagogues and Christian churches in Israel and set them up in attractive displays both inside and outside of the former inn, creating a diverse collection of mosaics that is unique in the Holy Land.

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Read about the new museum of mosaics from synagogues and churches in Israel at the Inn of the Good Samaritan in “The Inn of the Good Samaritan Becomes a Museum” by Yitzhak Magen in the January/February 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
 


 
Interested in Biblical parables? Read the Bible History Daily feature “The Parables of Jesus.”
 


 

Related Reading

The Samaritan Schism

Dating of the Samaritan Temple on Mt. Gerizim

Ancient Samaria and Jerusalem

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5 Responses

  1. Luke 10 – Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-Two | Bob's boy's Christianity blog says:

    […] Side note: Though the Bible does not tell us where the inn was, a site has been identified and associated with the parable, and has become a museum.  You can read about it in this article at BibleArchaeology.org. […]

  2. Jack Doshier says:

    This story is no fable…the story teller is the Son of God! The story teaches us who is good and neighborly. The choice of a museum to honor a divine truth is commendable.

  3. Jack Doshier says:

    fable

    Pronunciation: /ˈfeɪb(ə)l/
    noun
    a short story, typically with animals as characters, conveying a moral:
    the fable of the sick lion and the wary fox
    a supernatural story incorporating elements of myth and legend:
    he had conjured up a monster fit for any fable
    [mass noun] myth and legend:
    the unnatural monsters of fable
    a false statement or belief:
    believers accused the cosmologists of inventing fables on the birth of the universe
    verb
    [no object] archaic
    tell fictitious tales:
    I do not dream nor fable
    [with object] invent (an incident, person, or story):
    men soon fabled up their Histories into Miracle and Wonder

    Derivatives

    fabler
    Pronunciation: /ˈfeɪblə/
    noun

    Origin:

Write a Reply or Comment

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5 Responses

  1. Luke 10 – Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-Two | Bob's boy's Christianity blog says:

    […] Side note: Though the Bible does not tell us where the inn was, a site has been identified and associated with the parable, and has become a museum.  You can read about it in this article at BibleArchaeology.org. […]

  2. Jack Doshier says:

    This story is no fable…the story teller is the Son of God! The story teaches us who is good and neighborly. The choice of a museum to honor a divine truth is commendable.

  3. Jack Doshier says:

    fable

    Pronunciation: /ˈfeɪb(ə)l/
    noun
    a short story, typically with animals as characters, conveying a moral:
    the fable of the sick lion and the wary fox
    a supernatural story incorporating elements of myth and legend:
    he had conjured up a monster fit for any fable
    [mass noun] myth and legend:
    the unnatural monsters of fable
    a false statement or belief:
    believers accused the cosmologists of inventing fables on the birth of the universe
    verb
    [no object] archaic
    tell fictitious tales:
    I do not dream nor fable
    [with object] invent (an incident, person, or story):
    men soon fabled up their Histories into Miracle and Wonder

    Derivatives

    fabler
    Pronunciation: /ˈfeɪblə/
    noun

    Origin:

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