A Quit Claim after Divorce

DESCRIPTION
Language: Aramaic
Medium: papyrus
Size: 41.3 cm long
29 cm wide
Length: 14 lines of writing
Genre: Quit Claim
First Party: Peu,
son of Pahe
Second Party: Mibtahiah,
daughter of Mahseiah
Scribe: Petisi,
son of Nabunathan
Date: 26 August 440 BCE
Place of Discovery: Elephantine, Egypt
Date of Acquisition: Spring 1904
Acquirers: Lady William Cecil
Mr. Robert Mond
Current Location: Egyptian Museum
(Cairo, Egypt)
Designations: Sayce-Cowley F
Cowley 14
TAD B2.8
Porten B30




TEXT
TRANSLITERATION
(Adapted from Cowley 1923:42)

TRANSLATION
(Adapted from Cowley 1923:42-43;
Porten et al. 1996:188-90)
B—///\ L'B HW YOM —/// /// /// LPHNS ŠNT ¶ /// // 'RTHŠSŠ MLK' 'MR PY'
1 On the 14th of 'Ab (the 19th day of Pahon) of the 25th year of King Artaxerxes, Peu
BR PHY 'RDYKL LSWN BYRT' LMBTH YH BRT M HSYH BAR YDNY'
2 the son of Pahe, the builder of the Syene fortress, said to Mibtahiah, the daughter of Mahseiah son of Yedoniah,
'RMY' ZY SWN LDGL WRYZT c L DYN' ZY cBDN BSWN NPRT cL KSP
3 an Aramean of Syene, of the detachment of Varezath: "In accordance with the action that we took at Syene, let us make a division concerning the silver [money],
WcBWR WLBWŠ WNHŠ WPRZL KL NKSN WQNYN WSPR 'NTW 'DYN MWM'H
4 and corn, and clothing, and bronze, and iron—all goods and possessions—and the marriage contract. Then an oath
MT'H c LYKY WYM'TY LY c LYHM BSTY 'LHTH WTYB LBBY
5 was imposed upon you, and you swore to me concerning them by the goddess Sati, and my heart was content
BMWM'H DK' ZY cBDTY LY c L NKSY' 'LKY WRHQT MNKY MN
6 with that oath you took to me concerning your goods. And I renounce all claim on you from
YWM' ZNH W c D cLM L' 'KHL 'GRNKY DYN WDBB 'NTY WBR
7 this day and in perpetuity. I have no right to proceed against you with a lawsuit or process—you, your son,
WBRH LKY BŠM NKSY' 'LKY ZY YM'TY LY c L YHM HN GRYTKY
8 or your daughter—in the matter of your goods, about which you have sworn to me. If I proceed against you
DYN WDBB WGRKY BRLY WBR'LY BŠM MWM'H DKY 'NH PY' WBNY
9 with a suit or process, or my son or daughter sue you concerning your oath, I, Peu, or my son
'NTN LMTHYH KSP KR Š /// // B'BNY MLK' WL' DYN WL' DBB
10 will pay to Mibtahiah the sum of 5 kerashin, royal weight, without suit or process.
W'NH RHYQ MN KLDYN WDBB KTB PT 'SY BR NBWNTN SPR' ZNH
11 And I renounce all suit and process." Petisi son of Nabunathan wrote this document
BSWN BYRT' KPM PY' BR PHY ŠHDY' BGW NBWR CY
12 in Syene the Fortress at the direction of Peu son of Pahe.

Witnessess:
Nabure'i son of Nabunathan,


LWHY BR MNKY CWDNHR BR DWM' NBWR CY BR WŠTN
13 Luhi son of Mannuki,
Odnahar son of Duman,
Nabure'i son of Vashtan.
SPR MRHQ ZY KTB PY' LMBT[H YH] 14 Quit claim, which Peu wrote for Mibtahiah.
NOTES

Artaxerxes I was the Persian emperor (ruled 464–424 BCE), who also controlled Egypt.
Peu is an Egyptian name, as is the name of his father, Pahe.
Mibtahiah was an Israelite woman, who was part of the expatriot community that lived in Egypt. She appears in eleven fifth-century documents from Elephantine.
Aramean designates here a Semite rather than an Egyptian or Persian.
Syene is the ancient name of Elephantine.
Detachment of Varezath is a division of the Israelite garrison.

Sati was an Egyptian goddess.
Kerashin was a unit of coinage.
Witnesses listed here all have non-Semitic names.




DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Summarize the transaction of this document.

2. What significance is there in the way the date is established in the document?
3. What can we establish about Mibtahiah's marital history from this and other Elephantine documents?
4. What do you find significant about Mibtahiah 's oath?
5. What would explain the division of goods that Peu outlines in this document? Might this be dowry, indirect dowry, or bridewealth? What indicates the difference?




SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
Cowley, A., editor and translator. Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1923. Reprinted with a New Foreword and Bibliography by K. C. Hanson, Ancient Texts and Translations. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2005.
Ginsberg, H. L. "Aramaic Letters." In Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by J. B. Pritchard, 491-92. 3rd ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969.

Goody, Jack. The Oriental, the Ancient and the Primitive: Systems of Marriage and the Family in the Pre-Industrial Societies of Eurasia. Studies in Literacy, Family, Culture and the State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Hanson, K. C. "The Herodians and Mediterranean Kinship. II: Marriage and Divorce." Biblical Theology Bulletin 19 (1989) 142-51.

Hanson, K. C. "The Herodians and Mediterranean Kinship. III: Economics." Biblical Theology Bulletin 20 (1990) 10-21.

Hanson, K. C., and Douglas E. Oakman. Palestine in the Time of Jesus: Social Structures and Social Conflicts. 2nd ed. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008.

Pestman, P. W. Marriage and Matrimonial Property in Ancient Egypt: Contribution to Establishing the Legal Position of the Woman. Papyrologia Lugduno-Batava 9. Leiden: Brill, 1961.

Porten, Bezalel. "The Archive of Yedaniah b. Gemariah of Elephantine." In Irano-Judaica: Studies Relating to Jewish Contacts with Persian Culture Throughout the Ages, edited by S. Shaked, 11-24. Jerusalem: Ben-Zvi Institute for the Study of Jewish Communities in the East, 1982.
Porten, Bezalel. The Archives from Elephantine: The Life of an Ancient Jewish Colony. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968.
Porten, Bezalel. "The Elephantine Papyri." In The Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by D. N. Freedman, 2:445-55. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Porten, Bezalel and Ada Yardeni. Textbook of Aramaic Documents from Ancient Egypt. Vol. 2: Contracts. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1986.
Porten, Bezalel, et al. The Elephantine Papyri in English: Three Millennia of Cross- Cultural Continuity and Change. Documenta et Monumenta Orientis Antiqui. Leiden: Brill, 1996.
Sachau, Eduard. Aramäische Papyrus und Ostraka aus einer jüdischen Militär-Kolonie zu Elephantine: Altorientalische Sprachdenkmäler des 5. Jahrhunderts vor Chr. Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1911.



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Last Modified: 26 August 2009