Samson Follows the Sun to Galilee

Local archaeologists have unearthed some seemingly out-of-place depictions of the sun god Helios in the mosaic floors of ancient synagogues. Can this be attributed to a link between the pagan god, the biblical hero Samson, and Joshua, who led the Israelites into the Promised Land?

In the winter of 1929, a team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem headed by Eleazar Lipa Sukenik unearthed the ancient synagogue in Beit Alfa, with its mosaic floor. The discovery of the mosaic caused great excitement among the Jewish populace of the Land of Israel and something of a sensation among experts, Jewish studies scholars in particular, which still reverberates.