The history of the synagogue as an institution among the Jews is difficult to trace to its source. Its origins seem to lie outside Palestine and apart from that sector of Jewish life that governed the nation and shaped the Old Testament. By the time of the New Testament, the synagogue had become established as the central institution of local Jewish life.
Prior to the first Christian century, Judaism began to develop traditional interpretations of the Law that would eventually be written down to regulate Jewish life and worship. Judaism was influenced by Greek culture, resulting in the rise of a class of scribes and segments of the Jewish community which was more thoroughly Hellenized. The groupings formed during this period set the stage for the various sectarian movements within Judaism of the early Christian era.