Every Saturday morning in synagogues throughout the world the Torah is read aloud. Following ancient practice, seven men in turn read the weekly Torah portion. However, Professors Shmuel and Chana Safrai have recently discovered that a different custom prevailed until the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D.
Rabbinic sources inform us that on the Sabbath the Torah was read aloud in the synagogue by seven persons, a custom that has continued until this day. Scholars have assumed the custom was the same in the time of Jesus.
-  Tosefta, Megillah 3:11; Babylonian Talmud, Megillah 23a. Notice that both sources transmit the tannaic halachah that women can be included among the seven Torah readers. ↩
-  Chana and Shmuel Safrai also had made this assumption (cf. Shmuel Safrai, “Naming John the Baptist” JP 20 [May 1989]: 1-2). ↩