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About usFaculty of Theology and Religious StudiesOrganizationAcademic staffPhD ResearchJewish, Christian and Islamic Origins

Ruwan van der Iest

From the Nile to the Rivers of Babylon: A comparative study of the marriage contracts from the Jewish family archives found at Elephantine

This thesis is concerned with studying the marriage contracts from the Jewish family archives found at Elephantine in Ancient Egypt. It will combine various approaches as presented in the studies by other scholars, reviewing and expanding our knowledge about how the Elephantine Jews performed their marriages to ultimately discover how they constructed a Jewish identity for themselves.

Although the marriage contracts found at Elephantine contain valuable information about the Jews at Elephantine and Judaism at Elephantine in general, they have not yet received the attention they deserve in recent scholarship. The military colony itself consisted of many different cultures, making it a melting pot of different customs showing that the Persian Empire continued to bring different people from around the Ancient World into contact with one another and caused people from different cultures to reside alongside people from cultures other than their own.

Marriage Document of Ananiah and Tamut, July 3, 449 BCE, Brooklyn Museum
Marriage Document of Ananiah and Tamut, July 3, 449 BCE, Brooklyn Museum

The documents from Elephantine can give us first-hand insight into how the different people functioned in this ever changing and turbulent world and how they formed or even changed their identities to fit this culturally diverse community. The materials found at Elephantine will be supplemented by similar and contemporary documents. These entail Demotic (marriage) contracts and Babylonian documents, written in the late Neo-Babylonian and Persian periods. Furthermore, documents found in the Murašu and Āl-Yahudu archives will be used to compare Jewish interaction in Egypt, with that of the Jews in Babylonia.

Laatst gewijzigd:06 juni 2018 11:37