By Philip F. Esler
This paintings considers the tale in the back of papyri came across in 1960 within the Cave of Letters through the lifeless Sea. The archive includes a number of contracts and deeds entered into by way of a Jewish girl named Babatha, daughter of a land proprietor named Shim'on, on the finish of the 1st century.
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Extra resources for Babatha's Orchard : The Yadin Papyri and an Ancient Jewish Family Tale Retold
This distinctiveness was a product of several factors that included the unusual history and character of the Nabateans and their culture (ranging from social structures to irrigation works); the unique geography of the Dead Sea area; the hot climate that allowed the cultivation of the remarkable date-palm where irrigation water was available; the fact that an international border between the Roman province of Judea and the Kingdom of Nabatea bisected the region; the lively relationships between Judeans and Nabateans; and the relatively high income and asset levels enjoyed by many local farming families, but also the fragility to which their ﬁnancial position was subject.
For these documents were agreed to by the parties to each transaction, were drafted by scribes at their direction, and reﬂect the indigenous culture and rules of law (with the latter drawing on a centuries-old Aramaic legal tradition). Documents such as these deﬁnitely do report on the issues about which they were written and are not skewed and biased sources, even though there may have been differences in negotiating power as between the parties. One ﬁnal recent use of the notion of ‘archival ethnography’ is worth mentioning.
Graf 1990: 67. Graf 1990: 67. 18 For the purposes of this volume, however, it is not necessary to reach a conclusion on this matter. The issues in Nabatean history requiring consideration here are those directly bearing upon the world of Shim‘on and Babatha. The earliest historical record of the Nabateans comes from the Biblioteca historica of the Greek historian Diodorus of Sicily, written in the decades around the middle of the ﬁrst century BCE. 7, and a shorter one from Book 2, Section 48. The longer account describes the singularly unsuccessful campaign in 311 BCE by Antigonus Monophthalmos (‘the One-Eyed’), one of the so-called Diadochi (‘successors’) to Alexander after his death in 323.