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The Babatha Archive
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P. Yadin 12. Extract from Council Minutes
The court assigns guardians for Babatha's orphaned son Jesus
Between 27 February-28 June 124 C.E.
Outer Text
Verified exact copy of one item of guardianship from the minutes of the council of Petra the metropolis, minutes displayed in the temple of Aphrodite in Petra, and it is as appended below:
"And of Jesus, a Jew, son of Jesus, of the village Maoza, 'Abdobdas son of Ellouthas and John son of Eglas [are appointed guardians]."
Done in Petra, metropolis of Arabia, four days before the kalends of ..., in the consulship of Manius Acilius Glabrio and Gaius Bellicius Torquatus...

On the back, 5 individual signatures of witnesses

P. Yadin 14. Summons to Court
Babatha subpoenas her orphaned son Jesus' guardians to charge them with inadequate maintenance
11 or 12 October 125 C.E.
Outer Text
In the ninth year of Imperator Traianus Hadrianus Caesar Augustus, in the consulship of Marcus Valerius Asiaticus for the second time and Titius Aquilinus four days before the ides of October, and according to the compute of the province of Arabia year twentieth on the twenty-fourth of month Hyperberetaios called Thesrei, in Maoza, Zoara district, before the attending witnesses, Babatha daughter of Simon son of Menahem -- through her guardian for this matter, Judah son of Khthousion -- summoned John son of Joseph Eglas, one of the guardians appointed by the council of Petra for her son Jesus the orphan of Jesus, saying: "On account of your not having given ... to my son, the said orphan ... just as 'Abdoobdas son of Ellouthas, your colleague, has given me receipt, therefore I summon you to attend at the court of the governor Julius Julianus in Petra the metropolis of Arabia until we are heard in the tribunal in Petra on the second day of the month Dios(?) or at his next sitting in Petra... "

The attending witnesses: John son of Makhouthas, Sammouos son of Menahem, Thaddeus son of Thaddeus, Joseph son of Ananias, Jesus(?) son of Libanos(?).

On the back, 5 individual signatures of witnesses

P. Yadin 15. Deposition
Babatha deposes her orphaned son Jesus' guardians in court for inadequate maintenance
11 or 12 October 125 C.E.
Outer Text
In the ninth year of Imperator Traianus Hadrianus Caesar Augustus, in the consulship of Marcus Valerius Asiaticus for the second time and Titius Aquilinus four days before the ides of October, and according to the compute of the province of Arabia year twentieth on the twenty-fourth of the month Hyperberetaios called Thesrei, in Maoza, Zoara district, before the attending witnesses Babatha daughter of Simon son of Menahem deposed against John son of Joseph Eglas and 'Abdoobdas son of Ellouthas, guardians of her orphan son Jesus son of Jesus, appointed guardians for the said orphan by the council of Petra, in the presence of the said guardians, saying:

"On account of your not having given my orphan son generous(?) maintenance money commensurate with the income from the interest on his money and the rest of his property, and commensurate in particular with a style of life which befits(?), and you contribute for him as interest on the money only one half-denarius per hundred denarii [per month], as I have property equivalent in value to this money of the orphan's that you have, therefore I previously deposed in order that you might decide to give me the money on security involving a lien on my property, with me contributing interest on the money at the rate of a denarius and a half per hundred denarii, wherewith my son may be raised in splendid style, rendering thanks to the[se] most blessed times of the governorship of Julius Julianus, our governor, before whom I, Babatha, summoned the aforesaid John, one of the guardians of the orphan, for his refusal of disbursement of the [appropriate] maintenance money. Otherwise this deposition will serve as documentary evidence of [your] profiteering from the money of the orphan by giving..."

Babatha deposed as aforestated through her guardian for this matter, Judah son of Khthousion, who was present and subscribed.

[2nd hand] I, Babatha daughter of Simon, have deposed through my guardian Judah son of Khthousion against John son of Eglas and 'Abdoobdas son of Ellouthas, guardians of my orphan son Jesus, according to the aforestated conditions. I, Eleazar son of Eleazar, wrote for her by request, because of her being illiterate.

On the back, 7 individual signatures of witnesses

P. Yadin 17. Deposit
Babatha deposits 300 denarii with her husband, Judah son of Eleazar
21 February 128 C.E.
Outer Text
In the consulship of Publius Meilius Nepos for the second time and Marcus Annius Libo ten days before the kalends of March, and by the compute of the new province of Arabia year twenty-second on the sixth of the month Dystros, in Maoza, Zoara district, of his own free will and consent Judah son of Eleazar also known as Khthousion, En-gedian, acknowledged to Babatha daughter of Simon, his own wife, present with her as her guardian for the purpose of this matter being Jacob son of Jesus, all of them residing here, to the effect that Judah has received from her on account of a deposit three hundred denarii of silver in coin of genuine legal tender, on condition that he have and owe them [as a debt] on deposit until such time as it may please Babatha, or anyone acting through her or for her, to request the aforesaid denarii of the deposit from the said Judah. And if Judah when so requested does not promptly repay, in accordance with the law of deposit he shall be liable to repay the deposit to her twofold in addition to damages, and he shall also be answerable to a charge of illegality in such matters, the said Babatha or anyone producing this contract on her behalf having right of execution upon Judah and all his possessions everywhere -- both those which he possesses and those which he may validly acquire in addition -- in whatever manner the executor may choose to carry out the execution. In good faith the formal question was asked and it was agreed in reply that this is thus rightly done.

[2nd hand, Aramaic] Yehudah son of Eleazar: "I acknowledge that I have received from Babatha my wife, with the knowledge of Jacob her 'lord' son of Yeshu'a, on account of deposit, three hundred silver denarii, and I will return them to her at any time that she will wish, as is written above, with nothing withheld(?) according to the law of deposit." Yehudah son of Eleazar wrote it.

[1st hand, Greek] I, Theenas son of Simon, librarius, wrote [this].

On the back, 7 individual signatures of witnesses

P. Yadin 18. Marriage Contract
Judah son of Eleazar marries his daughter, Shelamzion, to Judah Cimber
5 April 128 C.E.
Outer Text
In the consulship of Publius Metilius Nepos for the second time and Marcus Annius Libo on the nones of April, and by the compute of the new province of Arabia year twenty-third on the fifteenth of month Xandikos, in Maoza, Zoara district, Judah son of Eleazar also known as Khthusion, gave over Shelamzion, his very own daughter, a virgin, to Judah surnamed Cimber son of Ananias son of Somalas, both of the village of En-gedi in Judea residing here, for Shelamzion to be a wedded wife to Judah Cimber for the partnership of marriage according to the laws, she bringing to him on account of bridal gift feminine adornment in silver and gold and clothing appraised by mutual agreement, as they both say, to be worth two hundred denarii of silver, which appraised value the bridegroom Judah called Cimber acknowledged that he has received from her by hand forthwith from Judah her father and that he owes to the said Shelamzion his wife together with another three hundred denarii which he promised to give to her in addition to the sum of her aforesaid bridal gift, all accounted toward her dowry, pursuant to his undertaking of feeding and clothing both her and the children to come in accordance with Greek custom upon the said Judah Cimber's good faith and peril and [the security of] all his possessions, both those which he now possesses in his said home village and here and all those which he may in addition validly acquire everywhere, in whatever manner his wife Shelamzion may choose, or whoever acts through her or for her may choose, to carry out the execution. Judah called Cimber shall redeem this contract for his wife Shelamzion, whenever she may demand it of him, in silver secured in due form, at his own expense interposing no objection. If not, he shall pay to her all the aforestated denarii twofold, she having the right of execution, both from Judah Cimber her husband and upon the possessions validly his, in whatever manner Shelamzion or whoever acts through her or for her may choose to carry out the execution. In good faith the formal question was asked and it was acknowledged in reply that this is thus rightly done.

[2nd hand, Aramaic] Yehudah son of Eleazar Khthousion: I have given my daughter Shelamzion, a virgin, in marriage to Yehudah Cimber son of Hananiah son of Somala, according to what is written above. Yehudah wrote it.

[3rd hand, Aramaic] Yehudah Cimber son of Hananiah son of Somala: I acknowledge the debt of silver denarii five hundred, the dowry of Shelamzion my wife, according to what they wrote above. Yehudah wrote it.

[1st hand, Greek] I Theenas son of Simon, librarius, wrote [this].

On the back, 7 individual signatures of witnesses

P. Yadin 19. Deed of Gift
Judah son of Eleazar gifts a courtyard to his daughter, Shelamzion
16 April 128 C.E.
Outer Text
In the consulship of Publius Metilius Neros for the second time and Marcus Annius Libo sixteen days before the kalends of May, according to the compute of the new province year twenty-third on the twenty-sixth of Xandikos, in Maoza of Zoara district, Judah son of Eleazar Khthousion, an En-gedian domiciled in Maoza, willed to Shelamzious, his daughter, all his possessions in En-gedi, viz. half of the courtyard across from (?) the synagogue (?) ... including (?) half of the rooms and the upper-story rooms therein, but excluding the small old court near the said courtyard, and the other half of the courtyard and rooms Judah willed to the said Shelamzious [to have] after his death; of which courtyard and rooms the abutters [are], on the east [property] of Jesus son of Maddaronas and an empty lot, on the west the testator, on the south a market, on the north a street (and Shelamzious shall not be responsible for any error [in this statement] of boundaries), together with entrances and exits, bricks, roof, doors, windows and existing appurtenances of every kind, so that the aforesaid Shelamzious shall have the half of the aforesaid courtyard and rooms from today, and the other half after the death of the said Judah, validly and securely for all time, to build, raise up, raise higher, excavate, deepen, possess, use, sell and manage in whatever manner she may choose, all valid and secure. And whenever Shelamzious summons the said Judah he will register it with the public authorities.

[2nd hand, Aramaic] Yehudah son of Eleazar Khthousion: I have given the courtyard and the house therein to Shelamzion my daughter according to what is written above. Yehuda wrote it.

[1st hand, Greek] I, ... son of Simon, wrote [this].

On the back, 7 individual signatures of witnesses

P. Yadin 20. Reununciation of Claims
Besas and Julia Crispina, guardians of Jesus' orphans, renounce claims to the courtyard gifted to Shelamzion
19 June 130 C.E.
Outer Text
Year fourteenth of Imperator Traianus Hadrianus Caesar Augustus, in the consulship of Gavius Catullinus and Flavius Aper thirteen days before the kalends of July, according to the compute of the new province of Arabia year twenty-fifth on the thirtieth of Daisios, in Maoza in the district of Zoara, Besas son of Jesus, En-gedian domiciled in Mazraa, guardian of the orphans of Jesus son of Khthousion, and Julia Crispina, supervisor, to Shelamzious daughter of Judah, En-gedian, through Judah (also known as Cimber) son of Ananias, En-gedian, her guardian for the purpose of this matter: We acknowledge that we have conceded to you, from the property of Eleazar (also known as Khthousion) son of Judah, your grandfather, a courtyard with all its rights in En-gedi and the rooms with it, everything that opens [off it] to east, north or south, every right that the aforementioned Eleazar Khthousion had in the said courtyard, abutters being, on the east a market, on the west [property of] Maththethos (?) son of Zabbaios, on the north Aristion's lane, on the south a public market. This courtyard I will register for you with the public authorities wherever you wish, you paying the fee. And it anyone enters a counterclaim for the said courtyard, we will conduct a firm legal defense and will clear it for you of any counterclaimant at our own expense without any dispute, the formal question having been in good faith asked and acknowledged in reply.

[2nd hand, Aramaic] Besa son of Yeshu'a, a guardian (epitropos) of the orphan(s) of Yeshu'a son of Khthousion: I acknowledge to you, you Shelamzion, [according to] what [is written] above, that I will act and clear the title (according to) all that is written above. Besa son of Yeshu'a wrote it.

[3rd hand, Greek] I, Julia Crispina, supervisor (episkopos), acknowledge that I have conceded accordingly.

[1st hand, Greek] It was written by Germanos, librarius.

On the back, 7 individual signatures of witnesses

P. Yadin 26. Summons and Reply
Babatha and Miriam litigate over rights to their husband Judah's property
9 July 131 C.E.
Outer Text
Before the attending witnesses who also affixed their signatures, Babathas(sic), a Maozene woman, daughter of Simon, summoned Miriam, an En-gedian woman, daughter of Beianos, to accompany her in person before Haterius Neros, legatus Augusti pro praetore, whereever his venue may be, [to answer] why you seized everything in the house of Judah son of Eleazar Khthousion my and your late husband ... and, equally important, to attend before the said Neros until judgment. Miriam replied, saying: "Before this I summoned you not to go near the possessions of my and your late husband [and according to?] the ... and prescriptions (?) of Judah my husband you have no claim against the said Judah regarding his estate and ... "

Done in Maoza in the district of Zoora, in the consulship of Laenas Pontianus and Rufinus seven days before the ides of July. Two copies were written. It was written by Germanos son of Judah.

On the back, 5 individual signatures of witnesses

All translations taken from Naphtali Lewis, Yigael Yadin and Jonas C. Greenfield, eds., The Documents from the Bar Kokhba Period in the Cave of Letters, Greek Papyri (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Shrine of the Book, 1989).

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