Continuity and Innovation in the Aramaic Legal Tradition

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Ever since the Elephantine papyri were first published over a century ago, scholars have speculated on the origins of the well-developed legal formularies used in these documents. Since then, many more Aramaic deeds of conveyance both from Elephantine and from elsewhere have been published, especially within the last decade or so. With this expanded text base now available, the time is ripe for a comprehensive re-assessment of these legal formularies. This book endeavors to show that these disparate Aramaic documents, whose chronological scope spans several centuries, form a discrete and coherent tradition. It isolates and identifies the distinctive elements that form the core of this tradition and traces the histories of these elements back through the cuneiform record.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
In this well-written and well-argued work, Gross has provided a valuable contribution to our understanding of the development of the Aramaic legal formulary.
Alejandro F. Botta in Aramaic Studies
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Andrew Gross
Andrew D. Gross, Ph.D. (2006) in Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University, is Assistant Professor in Semitic Languages at the Catholic University of America.
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Table of Contents


Ch. 1 Introduction 1

The Object of the Present Study 2

Previous Scholarship on Aramaic Formularies 4

The Aramaic Corpora 7

The Structure of the Aramaic Deed of Conveyance 20

The Method of the Present Study 26

Cuneiform Corpora 28

Summary 43

A Note on the Presentation of the Texts 45

Ch. 2 The Acknowledgment of Receipt Clause 46

Cuneiform Background 47

Neo-Assyrian Aramaic Deeds of Sale 64

Elephantine 66

Wadi ed-Daliyeh 71

Jewish Aramaic Materials from the Judean Desert 78

Nabatean Aramaic Materials from the Judean Desert 82

Syriac 85

Summary 87

Ch. 3 The Investiture Clause 92

Cuneiform Background 93

Elephantine 106

Wadi ed-Daliyeh 116

Jewish Aramaic Materials from the Judean Desert 124

Nabatean Aramaic Materials from the Judean Desert 137

Nabatean Tomb Inscriptions 139

Syriac Slave Sale from Dura-Europos 147

Summary 149

Ch. 4 The Warranty Clause 151

Background 151

Elephantine 162

Wadi ed-Daliyeh 169

Jewish Aramaic Materials from the Judean Desert 174

Nabatean Aramaic Materials from the Judean Desert 180

Syriac 185

Summary 187

Ch. 5 Conclusion 194

Abbreviations 201

Bibliography 204

Index of Key Terms and Phrases 227

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