Babatha's First Marriage Contract: Hiding in Plain Sight

Esler, Philip F ORCID: 0000-0002-4889-4889 (2023) Babatha's First Marriage Contract: Hiding in Plain Sight. Journal of Jewish Studies, 74 (2). pp. 303-322. doi:10.18647/3584/jjs-2023

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Babatha’s archive of 35 richly informative legal documents from the period 94 – 132 CE only contains the contract for her second marriage, not her first. This omission invites investigation, in this article from a microhistorical perspective. Admittedly, Greek ‘unwritten marriages’ were known in Egypt during this period, and there is evidence for the influence of Greek practices in the Dead Sea region. Nevertheless, this article argues, firstly, that a written contract with the all-important dowry provisions (securing her position in the event of widowhood or divorce) accompanied her first marriage. Secondly, it is argued that Babatha retained this contract after her husband died. Thirdly, it is argued that her second marriage contract is a copy of the first contract and that, with all its provisions (mutatis mutandis) replicated in the second, she discarded it. This course of events illuminates significant aspects of the lives of Babatha and her family.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Babatha; Marriage; Marriage contract; Dowry; Microhistory
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Culture, Continuity, and Transformation
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 15 May 2023 09:20
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2023 12:31

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