God-Worshipers Inscription, third century C.E. Aphrodisias, Meander Valley, present-day Turkey. Photograph by Sarah Crossan.
The inscription is from the early third century C.E. and originally stood at the entrance to the city’s synagogue. It records the individual names of 126 donors to the building’s construction. But the distribution of those names is truly startling: 55 percent are Jewish; 2 percent are “proselytes,” or converts; and 43 percent are “God-worshipers.” Only one Jewish woman, Jael, is mentioned, but her name tops the list as patron of the entire operation. Furthermore, the first nine God-worshipers on the stone’s second face are members of the boule, or city council.