While the petitions collected under the title Urkunden des Politeuma der Juden von Herakleopolis prove that at least some Hellenistic Egyptian Jews exercised the right to form a politeuma, their significance for understanding the way these Jews used the Greek and Jewish normative systems available to them as a result of that privilege remains uncertain.[1] The following note on the petitioner's legal reasoning in P.Polit.Jud. 7 ("Eingabe, das Dienstverhältnis eines Mädchens betreffend, und Urteil der Archonten") offers a small contribution toward reducing that uncertainty.[2]

    P.Polit.Jud. 7 (P.Köln Inv. 21038): Text, Translation, and Notes[3]

    top margin
    τοῖς ἄρχουσι
    παρὰ Δωροθέου τῶν ἐκ τοῦ πολιτεύματος.
    ἐν τῶι λβ (ἔτει) Σεύθου τοῦ τῆς γυναικός μου 139/8
    4 ἀδελ̣φοῦ ἀρρωστήσαντος παρ᾿ ἐμοὶ
    καὶ βαρέως διατεθέντος προ(σ)εστάτησ̣α̣
    αὐτοῦ ἐφ᾿ ἱκανὸν χρόνον ἐκ τ̣ο̣ῦ̣ ἰδίου
    πλ̣είονα δαπανῶν̣, μ̣ετὰ δ̣ὲ̣ ταῦ̣τα
    8 μεταλαβὼν τ̣ὴ̣ν̣ θυ̣γατέρ̣α αὐτοῦ
    Φίλιπ̣π̣αν ἀπερρίφθαι ἐν τῶ̣ι̣  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣[  ̣  ̣]  ̣  ̣[  ̣  ̣]  ̣
    μετεπεμψάμην κα̣ὶ̣ ταύτην καὶ
    ἀ̣μ̣φ̣οτέρων δια̣ι̣τωμ̣ένων παρ᾿ ἐμοὶ
    12 ὁ Σεύ̣θ̣ης εδρ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣ ην πρ̣ο̣σπαρέδω-
    κέν μοι τὴν Φίλιππαν, ὅ̣π̣ω̣ς̣ παρ᾿ ἐμοὶ ἦι
    χάριν τε ὧν εἰ[ς] ἀμφοτέρο̣υ̣ς δεδ̣α̣-
    πανήκειν τ̣[ὸ] δεύτερ[ο]ν [χ]ά̣ρ̣ι̣ν τῆς
    16 πρὸς τὴν̣ γυνα[ῖ]κα π̣  ̣  ̣[  ̣]  ̣ ε̣ω̣ς,
    Ἰωνᾶς δ̣ὲ τῆς γυ̣ναικὸς αὐτοῦ
    περιεσπακυίας τὴν Φίλιππαν καὶ
    π̣ρὸ̣ς̣ τ̣[ὴ]ν̣ ἄλλην αὐτῆς ἀδ̣ελφὴν
    20 καθεστακυίας εἰς Παανάμ̣ει, ἀξιῶ,
    ἐὰν φαί[ν]ηται, ἀνακαλεσαμέ̣ν̣ο̣υς
    αὐτὴ̣ν ἐπαναγκάσαι τὸ δίκαιόν μοι
    23 ὑπο̣σχε̣ῖ̣ν̣                             εὐτυχεῖτε.
    (m.2)            (ἔτους) λς̣ Παχὼ(ν) κβ‾ σ̣υ̣(νετάξαμεν)
                                           π̣αρ(αγγεῖλαι) 14 June 134
    25 τῆ̣ι̣ δὲ κδ‾ τῶ̣ν̣ ἀρχό(ντων)· εἰς τὴν 16 June 134
                               κα̣‾ Π̣α(ῦνι) κατ̣ενε(χθῆναι). 13 July 134
    bottom margin

    To the archons from Dorotheos of the Politeuma. In the 32nd year, when my wife's brother Seuthes stayed with me while he was sick and things were going badly for him, I doctored him for a sufficient time, expending much from my own means. Next, upon learning that his daughter had been thrown into debtors' prison I sent for her, and while the two of them were living with me Seuthes also gave Philippa into my charge {as a member of the household?} so that she might be with me, [first] on account of what I had expended for the two of them, and second, on account of his confidence in my wife. But Iona, his wife, seized Philippa and made her at home with her other sister in Paanamei.

    I ask, if it seems right, that you summon her and compel her to afford me justice. Live well.
    (m.2) In the 36th year, 22. Pachon. We have decided to rule (on the case).
    On the 24th: (Instruction) of the archons: (the matter) shall be brought forth on the 21st of Pauni.

    3 Σεύθης: A Thracian name, but see P.Polit.Jud. 7.3n. (citing S. Honigman, "The Birth of a Diaspora: The Emergence of a Jewish Self-Definition in Ptolemaic Egypt in the Light of Onomastics," in S.J.D. Cohen and E. Frerichs [ed.], Diasporas in Antiquity. BJS 288 [Atlanta1993] 103–104), for the relative meaninglessness of the name for determining its bearer's ethnicity.

    9 ̣ ̣ ̣ ̣ ̣[ ̣ ̣] ̣ ̣[ ̣ ̣] ̣ : Cowey and Maresch suggest reading πρακτόρειον ("debtor's prison") here (P.Polit.Jud. 7.9n.); see the translation.

    12 εδρ̣ ̣ ̣ ̣ ην: Cowey and Maresch (P.Polit.Jud. 7.12n.) suggest ἑδρ̣υτ̣ὴν (=ἱδρυτήν); see the translation for a suggested meaning.

    12–13 προσπαρέδωκεν: This verb does not occur elsewhere in the papyri, but it is frequent in inscriptions, almost exclusively in temple treasure inventories from Delos and Attica. Retiring stewards who had completed their term of oversight of a sanctuary made a complete listing of the goods for which they were responsible. B.H. McLean observes that they introduced sections of their list with "such a formula as (θεοί)· τάδε (προσ)παρέδοσαν οἱ ταμίαι (τῶν ἱερῶν χρημάτων) τοῦ θεοῦ οἱ ἐπὶ δεῖνος ἄρχοντος/ γραμματέως (gods [be with us!] This is what the treasurers [of the sacred goods] of the god handed over when so-and-so was archon/secretary)."[4] Thus the verb denotes transfer of responsibility for sacred goods from one steward to the next. Of the more than one hundred occurrences of the word in inscriptions reported by the Packard Humanities Institute Greek Inscriptions project, 27 are in temple treasure inventories from Delos dating between 166 and 140 BCE (ID 1403; 1412; 1416–1417; 1426; 1429; 1439–1440; 1442–1444; 1453; 1465), a place with much contact with Egypt in the Hellenistic period and a period nearly contemporaneous with P.Polit.Iud 7 (134 BCE).

    16 π̣ ̣ ̣[ ̣] ̣ ε̣ω̣ς: The editors suggest reading πίστεως here; see the translation.

    17 Ἰωνᾶς: The editors consider this a genuin jüdische Name, although it does not appear in the standard name registers; it must be a derivative from Ἰωαν(ν)α or the feminine of Ἰωνας (P.Polit.Jud., p. 32 and n. 105). The name, here in the genitive, occurs in the nominative in P.Count 26.161 and 169, a census register from Trikomia. Clarysse counts the name as one of many "clearly Semitic names" in the census list (W. Clarysse, "Jews in Trikomia," in A. Bülow-Jacobsen [ed.], Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Papyrologists, Copenhagen, 23–29 August 1992 [Copenhagen 1994] 194).

    19 ἄλλην: The adjective seems gratuitous. If it is not, its meaning is unclear.

    P.Polit.Jud. 7: A petition to restore a broken Dienstverhältnis?

    As indicated by the title they assign to his petition, the editors understand Dorotheos to have asked for the return of his niece Philippa as a servant to her master. The reading of the petition that leads them to this conclusion is this: To establish his claim to Philippa's services Dorotheos recounts his generosity to Seuthes when he was ill and his redemption of Philippa from debtor's prison to bring father and daughter together in his household (ll. 3–11). Then Dorotheos recalls that Seuthes gave Philippa to him outright on account of his charity for them (ll. 12–15a). These facts establish the basis for Philippa's obligation to Dorotheos as a servant to her master. In spite of that obligation, Philippa's mother, Iona, had taken Philippa from Dorotheos and housed her elsewhere (ll. 17–20a). The editors take the lack of any reference to Seuthes at this point in Dorotheos' account to indicate that he had died in the interim. Dorotheos petitions the archons to require Iona to return Philippa to him to complete her obligation (ll. 20b–23). As for the fragmentary response of the archons, the editors take the apparent ruling that Philippa should be returned and Dorotheos should have control over her as a maidservant (ll. 37–39) as confirmation of their general understanding of the petition as requesting the restoration of a master-servant relationship.

    Cowey and Maresch acknowledge some difficulties with their interpretation of the petition and response.

    (1) The editors are troubled by the verb that Dorotheos uses in lines 12–13 to recall Seuthes handing Philippa over to him: "παραδιδόναι/παράδοσις mit Objekt einer Person bezeichnet in der Regel Übergabe in Haft . . . hier muß aber Übergabe in das Dienstverhältnis gemeint sein."[5]

    (2) Acknowledging that a παραμονή contract is implied by the circumstances Dorotheos narrates, and especially so by the first χάριν clause (ll. 14–15a), they express concern that the key term of such an agreement, the amount to be repaid, goes unmentioned.[6]

    (3) They do not address the significance of the second χάριν clause explaining why Seuthes gave Philippa to Dorotheos, Seuthes' confidence in his sister, the wife of Dorotheos (ll. 15b–16).

    (4) The archons' response in line 37 refers to Philippa as a κοράσιον, making her quite young at the time of her transfer to Dorotheos. The editors remark that "die Übergabe von Kindern in ein Dienstverhältnis scheint aus jüdischem Milieu auf Papyrus bisher nicht belegt zu sein."[7]

    (5) The word ἐργάτιν in line 39, arguably the most critical element in the entire text for claiming that it concerns a master-servant relationship, is only fragmentarily attested. The editors write that following κατέχειν, the ink traces are only "vielleicht singemäss ἐργάτιν."[8]

    (6) In addition to these specific issues the editors cite as most troubling the general problem that the text exhibits none of the terminology pertinent to Greek slave and servant law, while "in den anderen Papyri werden griechische Termini völlig selbstverständig verwendet, wenn es sich um griechisches Recht handelte."[9]

    Especially the last observation prompts one to seek an explanation of the petition and response in the other legal corpus Dorotheos was entitled to invoke as a member of a politeuma of the Jews, the Jewish Scriptures in Greek, especially the Torah. Doing so resolves the difficulties listed above and provides a more coherent understanding of the petitioner's legal reasoning and the text as a whole. Nonetheless, Greek legal norms do play a significant role in the petitioner's reasoning.

    P.Polit.Jud. 7: A petition to restore a destitute orphan

    The events narrated in his petition imposed two Torah obligations on Dorotheos: the duty of an individual to care for destitute kin (LXX Lev. 25:35–38) and the responsibility of the community to provide for the orphan (LXX Exod. 22:22; Deut. 10:18; 14:29; 24:17; 19, 21; 26:12–13; 27:19).

    The straitened circumstances of Seuthes and his daughter are what the law in Lev. 25:35–38 addresses, and Dorotheos' response satisfies its mandate.[10]

    35 Ἐὰν δὲ πένηται ὁ ἀδελφός σου καὶ ἀδυνατήσῃ ταῖς χερσὶν παρὰ σοί, ἀντιλήμψῃ αὐτοῦ ὡς προσηλύτου καὶ παροίκου, καὶ ζήσεται ὁ ἀδελφός σου μετὰ σοῦ. 36οὐ λήμψῃ παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ τόκον οὐδὲ ἐπὶ πλήθει καὶ φοβηθήσῃ τὸν θεόν σου – ἐγὼ κύριος –, καὶ ζήσεται ὁ ἀδελφός σου μετὰ σοῦ. 37τὸ ἀργύριόν σου οὐ δώσεις αὐτῷ ἐπὶ τόκῳ καὶ ἐπὶ πλεονασμὸν οὐ δώσεις αὐτῷ τὰ βρώματά σου. 38ἐγὼ κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὑμῶν ὁ ἐξαγαγὼν ὑμᾶς ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου δοῦναι ὑμῖν τὴν γῆν Χανααν ὥστε εἶναι ὑμῶν θεός.

    Verse 35: Ἐὰν δὲ πένηται ὁ ἀδελφός σου καὶ ἀδυνατήσῃ ταῖς χερσὶν παρὰ σοί, ἀντιλήμψῃ αὐτοῦ, "If your kin becomes poor and weak in his hands by you, help him," is especially notable because the phrase ἀδυνατήσῃ ταῖς χερσὶν appears here only in the LXX,[11] and the use of παρά with the dative case is unusual.[12] This protasis posits a kinsman's dependence on the addressee, and its apodosis dictates the addressee's response, ἀντιλήμψῃ αὐτοῦ, "help him." Thus the prepositional phrase that links the two clauses, παρὰ σοί, carries double meaning: being παρά someone according to this law is to be both destitute yet safeguarded from the vagaries of destitution through the care and protection of one's host (just as was the resident alien or stranger under the Torah; v. 35c; cf. Lev. 19:33–34; Deut. 24:19–22, etc.).

    Verses 36–38: These verses dictate the nature of the help to be rendered to the person παρὰ σοί: house him (vv. 35c; 36c) and provide shelter and food without interest or profit to yourself (vv. 36a; 37), and do all of these things out of respect for God (vv. 36b; 38a) who brought you out of Egypt to give to you the land of Canaan so that he might be your God (v. 38bc).

    The other Jewish normative practice that informs Dorotheos' petition, the Torah's requirement to care for the orphan (LXX Exod. 22:22; Deut. 10:18; 14:29; 24:17, 19, 21; 26:12–13; 27:19), had long been integrated with the customs of the Greek law of guardianship. The essential features of the Greek law are well known, and like most Privatrecht probably remained more or less the same throughout the Greco-Roman period.[13] A father's death made a minor an ὀρφανός, so it was a father's right and responsibility to name a guardian (ἐπίτροπος) for his children, usually through a will.[14] Failing that, most cases sorted themselves out through relatives or concerned parties fulfilling the role without formal designation.[15] When there was uncertainty or dispute regarding a father's intentions, formal appointment of a guardian could be made by local administrators upon the petition of a mother or another interested party, especially the closest male relative.[16] Mothers could also serve as guardians of their orphaned children in accordance with the terms of a marriage contract or by administrative appointment after the mother's appeal for the status.[17] In nominating someone for the role, the petitioner had to assure the administrators of the proposed guardian's integrity.[18] A guardian's duty was to maintain the ward and manage the child's inheritance.[19]

    That Jews adapted the Torah's requirement of community care for orphans to the Greek institution of guardianship is clear. In the first century CE Philo observes that to ensure supervision for orphans the practice is to appoint guardians (ἐπίτροποι) (Quod deterius potiori insidari soleat 145), and he knows the phenomenon of the "wicked guardian," saying that some ἐπίτροποι κακοί neglect the βαθύγειον καὶ εὐδαίμονα γῆν ὀρφανῶν παίδων, "deep-soiled and fertile land of orphaned children" and leave it χέρσον, "barren" (De somniis 1.107). Outside of Egypt P.Yadin 12–15, 27 from the Babatha archive (124–125 CE; 132 CE) show that Jews as far away as Judea appointed guardians over orphaned children in the Hellenistic manner well before the middle of the second century CE.[20] The Mishnah, a collection of rabbinic rulings dating from the turn of the eras to the late second century CE, reveals Jews' complete embrace of guardianship,[21] and it regulates what was probably a longstanding feature of the Jewish notions of guardianship: m. Git. 5.4 explains that guardianship can result for הבית בעל אצל שסמכו יתומים, "orphans who boarded with a householder."

    Returning to the petition, lines 3–11 sound as though Dorotheos echoes the structure, language, and content of Lev 25:35–38 to demonstrate his adherence to it. First, the phrase παρ᾿ ἐμοί in lines 4 and 11 might recall the παρὰ σοί of Lev 25:35. In lines 3–5a Dorotheos declares Seuthes to have been in the same state as the kinsman who becomes poor and ἀδυνατήσῃ ταῖς χερσὶν παρὰ σοί: he was ἀρρωστήσαντος, sick and βαρέως διατεθέντος, faring badly by Dorotheos (παρ᾿ ἐμοί): in short, he was dependent on Dorotheos' care. Second, lines 5b–7a prove that Dorotheos responded to Seuthes according to the Torah's requirements: he helped him (cf. ἀντιλήμψῃ αὐτοῦ in Lev. 25:35c) by safeguarding his wellbeing for a considerable time (προσεστάτησα αὐτοῦ ἐφ᾿ ἱκανὸν χρόνον, ll. 5b–6a; cf. Lev. 25:35b; 36c) and spending much on Seuthes' care from his own resources (ἐκ τοῦ ἰδίου πλείονα δαπανῶν, ll. 6b–7a; cf. Lev. 25:36a; 37).[22] Third, in lines 7b–11 Dorotheos reports that he even extended his fulfillment of the Torah obligation to Philippa, Seuthes' daughter, by redeeming her from debtor's prison so that she joined her father and the two of them lived together with Dorotheos, for which Dorotheos used again the expression παρ᾿ ἐμοί (ln. 11): they were both dependent on and served by Dorotheos, according to the Torah legislation. Dorotheos' unusual integrity according to the Torah's standard of care for the destitute could not be questioned.

    Further, when properly understood, the verb Dorotheos uses in lines 12–13 to describe Seuthes' act of giving Philippa to him suggests he saw it as a solemn paternal grant of guardianship. As seen above in the note on προσπαρέδωκεν in lines 12–13, the verb was in common use in the Hellenistic world to denote the transfer of temple goods from one steward to the next. It is not impossible that Dorotheos adapted the Greeks' language for this sacred transaction between temple stewards to the equally sacred transaction among Jews of ensuring the continued care of parentless (or in this case, soon-to-be-parentless) children.[23] Cowey and Maresch's suggested reading of ἑδρυτὴν [=ἱδρυτήν] in line 12 adds still more support to this reading, inasmuch as the language of household membership fits well with an account of the transfer of parental responsibilities for a child.[24] Likewise, the echoes of LXX Lev 25:35–38 in the petition support the view that Seuthes intended Dorotheos to be his daughter's guardian upon his death. Dorotheos says that Seuthes gave Philippa to him ὅπως παρ’ εμοὶ ἦι, "so that she might be by me" (line 13): Seuthes sought to ensure that on his death Philippa might have in Dorotheos' home the status of the person addressed by LXX Lev 25:35–38, a dependent person whose needs are met by her law-abiding benefactor, her de facto guardian.

    On this reading Cowey and Maresch's concern that the first χάριν clause in lines 14–15a lacks the critical element of a παραμονή contract is relieved. Seuthes gave Philippa to him on account of his generosity to father and daughter not because he had incurred a debt that could be repaid with Philippa's servitude, but because, having seen Dorotheos' unusual obedience to the law of LXX Lev. 25:35–38, Seuthes wanted to ensure that continued benefit for his daughter after his death. This also explains the second χάριν clause in lines 15b–16, that Seuthes had confidence in his sister, Dorotheos' wife: not only was he confident that in keeping the law Dorotheos would care for Philippa, he trusted his sister to do well by her also.

    The report in lines 17–20 that Iona removed Philippa from the household four years later, during which time Seuthes likely had died and the grant of guardianship had taken effect, indicates that for some reason Philippa disputed the legitimacy of Dorotheos' guardianship.[25] Whatever the reason, this act engendered a dispute over guardianship of Philippa, and as we saw above, recourse in such instances was through formal appeal to local administrators. Inasmuch as the law allowed mothers to serve as guardians, and to appeal for their appointment to the role, Dorotheos was compelled by Iona's action to make his formal appeal. And so he closes his petition with a plea to the archons that they force Iona to give him justice, an act that presumably entailed the return of Philippa to his care.

    To summarize, the petition was nothing less than Dorotheos' vigorous defense of his guardianship of Philippa: he had been appointed by Seuthes; he had demonstrated his fitness for the role of maintaining Philippa with his careful and unusual observance of LXX Lev. 25:35–28 before and after he became her guardian; and he had functioned as her guardian already for all or part of the four years since Seuthes appointed him, making him a de facto guardian according to Jewish practice (m. Git. 5.4). And if his appeal were successful, it would seal his case for guardianship of Philippa by establishing it on a fourth foundation: the archons' return of Philippa to him would ratify his de facto role as a matter of public record. As for the archons' ruling, the most that can be said with any confidence from its fragmentary remains is that they sided with Dorotheos.

    This understanding of the petition also addresses the last three concerns Cowey and Maresch had with their reading (listed above): κοράσιον in line 37, a troublesome term for someone being passed off among Jews as a servant or slave, is quite suitable for a child who requires a guardian; the considerable uncertainty that ἐργάτιν is actually present in line 39 is beside the point; and the absence of language from Greek law pertaining to master-servant relationships is also moot.[26]

    One final matter requires attention, one that relates to the question with which this study began. Some might argue that this is a very strange petition if it is an appeal to restore an orphan to her guardian. As we saw above, guardianship was a burden that brought little or no return to its bearer.[27] Having been relieved of the duty by Iona's actions, why would Dorotheos ask that it be restored to him? In addition to the obvious possibility that he and his wife were simply fond enough of their young charge to take up a custody dispute with Iona, there is also the lesson we might take from this study about how the Jews used the Greek and Jewish normative systems available to them as a result of their right to form a politeuma: at least in Dorotheos we encounter a Jew who took very seriously the obligations his ancestral law imposed upon him, but we also see that the ancestral law was no longer free of Greek influence. Dorotheos, it seems, acted as a thoroughly "Hellenized Jew," a common term which receives much sharper definition than usual as a result of our study. Surely more can be achieved in this regard from further study of the legal reasoning in the politeuma papyri and other documentary texts identified as "Jewish" in recent years.[28]


      1. J.M.S. Cowey and K. Maresch, Urkunden des Politeuma der Juden von Herakleopolis (144/3–133/2 v. Chr.) (Wiesbaden 2001) = P.Polit.Jud. For discussion of and bibliography on the significance of the papyri for the question of the "politeuma of the Jews" in Hellenistic Egypt, and for the relative "Hellenization" of those Jews, see especially S. Honigman, "The Jewish Politeuma at Heracleopolis [Rev. of P.Polit.Jud.]," SCI 21 (2002) 251–266; eand., "Politeumata and Ethnicity in Ptolemaic Egypt," AncSoc 33 (2003) 61–102.return to text

      2. P.Polit.Jud., pp. 85–92.return to text

      3. I thank Klaus Maresch of the Papyrus-Sammlung in Cologne for assisting me in examining P.Polit.Jud. 7 in December 2007. Our examination underscored the thoroughness of his and Cowey's editorial work. I have no corrected readings to offer. Note as well that I only reproduce the petition – the significant elements of the archons' fragmentary response are represented in the body of the study – and I leave readers to examine Cowey and Maresch's critical edition for the usual indicators of difficult-to-read letters and words. return to text

      4. B.H. McLean, An Introduction to Greek Epigraphy of the Hellenistic and Roman Periods from Alexander the Great down to the Reign of Constantine, 323 B.C.–A.D. 337 (Ann Arbor 2002) 198. return to text

      5. P.Polit.Iud. 7.12n. Further complicating the editors' judgment in this matter is that they overlook the fact that the verb is actually προσπαραδιδόναι, not merely παραδιδόναι. On the significance of the verb, see the note on lines 12–13 above, and further below. The verb παραδιδόναι is in any case inapt from the perspective of Jewish law, but precisely because it does occur in a Torah law regarding slavery, one that might seem to prohibit what Cowey and Maresch say Dorotheos wanted the archons to require of Iona: LXX Deut 23:16 [15] states, οὐ παραδώσεις παῖδα τῷ κυρίῳ αὐτοῦ ὃς προστεθεῖταί σοι παρὰ κυρίου αὐτοῦ, "Do not hand over a servant to his master who has attached himself to you from his owner."return to text

      6. Furthermore, in the absence of a repayment amount, one would expect mention of the time to be served (see, for example, P.Oslo III 140 = C.Ptol.Sklav. I 20, a "παραμονή-Vertrag" according to Scholl [p. 100]).return to text

      7. P.Polit.Jud. 7, p. 86. The editors do cite as a possible corollary "die Übergabe eines Säuglings durch seine vermutlich jüdische Mutter im Rahmen eines Sicherungsgeschäftes in BGU Inv. 25411 (=CPGr. I 8, 7/6 v. Chr.)." return to text

      8. P.Polit.Jud. 7.39–40n. return to text

      9. K. Maresch and J.M.S. Cowey, "'A Recurrent Inclination to Isolate the Case of the Jews from their Ptolemaic Environment'? Eine Antwort auf Sylvie Honigman," SCI 22 (2003) 309; Honigman (2002), op.cit. (above, n. 1); ead. (2003), op.cit. (above, n. 1).return to text

      10. Ensconced in a passage on the release of land and slaves in the jubilee year, Lev. 25:35–38 was associated with the surrounding Hebrew text by catch phrase association; yāmûk ʾāḥîkā, "your kin becomes poor," appears in Lev. 25:25, 35, 39, 47 (and only once more in the Hebrew Bible at Lev. 27:8).return to text

      11. The Hebrew of the text, wĕ kî yāmûk ʾāḥîkā ûmāṭāh yādô ʿimāk, "And if your brother grows poor and his hand trembles with you," is also unique in the MT; on the Greek translation, see W. Wevers, Notes on the Greek Text of Leviticus. SBL Septuagint and Cognate Literature Series 44 (Atlanta 1997) 423. return to text

      12. παρά occurs with the dative case just 167 times in the LXX; it appears with the genitive 421 times, and with the accusative 243 times. This is unsurprising, given the declining use of the dative case in the post-Classical period. return to text

      13. On guardianship in Greco-Roman Egypt, see R. Taubenschlag, The Law of Greco-Roman Egypt in the Light of the Papyri, 332 B.C.–640 A.D. (Milan 19722) 157–170; Grundz.Mitt. 248–256; E. Seidl, Ptolemaische Rechtsgeschichte (Glückstadt 1962) 109. On continuity in Privatrecht during the Greco-Roman period, see H.J. Wolff, Das Recht der griechischen Papyri Ägyptens in der Zeit der Ptolemaeer und des Prinzipats. Erster Band. Bedingungen und Triebkräfte der Rechtsentwicklung (Munich 2002) 35–43; H.-A. Rupprecht, "Greek Law in Foreign Surroundings: Continuity and Development," in M. Gagarin and D. Cohen (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Greek Law (Cambridge 2005) 328–342, esp. 329, 338.return to text

      14. SB VI 9065 (first century BCE); BGU IV 1113 (14 CE); SB V 7558 (173 CE); appointment could also be made for unborn children through the instrument of a marriage contract (e.g., P.Oxy. II 265 [first century CE]).return to text

      15. H.F. Jolowicz, "The Wicked Guardian," JRS 37 (1947) 82–90, describes a number of papyri where guardians are not juridically established, but instead took on the role without specific appointment (e.g., P.Lond. III 1164 (g) + (i) [212 CE]; P.Oxy. XIV 1638 [282 CE]).return to text

      16. BGU VIII 1813 (62–61 BCE); P.Oxy. III 496 (127 CE) also permits a mother to make an appointment if the father's will is unknown. return to text

      17. See respectively SB XVI 12720 (142 BCE) and SB V 7568 (36 CE).return to text

      18. Taubenschlag, op.cit. (above, n. 13) 162, nn. 28–30; see, among others, BGU IV 1070 (218 CE); P.Harris I 68 (225 CE); P.Teb. II 326 (266–267 CE); SB V 7558 (173 CE) exhorts the appointment of guardians who are ἐπιτήδειος and ἀξιοχρέως, "suitable" and "reputable." return to text

      19. Much of what we know about guardianship comes through petitions concerning the failure of guardians to meet their obligations; from those cited by Jolowicz, op.cit. (above, n. 15) and others, see P. Lond. VII 2017 (242–241 BCE); P.Dryton 33 (136 BCE); P.Bingen 74 (II CE); P.Oxy. VII 898 (123 CE); XVII 2133 (308 CE); PSI IV 281 (II CE). return to text

      20. N. Lewis, The Documents from the Bar Kochba Period in the Cave of Letters. Greek Papyri (Jerusalem 1989) 47–64, 116–117; A. Hanson, "The Widow Babatha and the Poor Orphan Boy," in R. Katzoff and D. Schaps (eds.), Law in the Documents of the Judaean Desert. SJSJ 96 (Leiden 2005) 85–103; for the view that the archive reflects foremost Roman law, not Greek, see in the same volume, T. Chiusi, "Babatha vs. the Guardians of Her Son: A Struggle for Guardianship – Legal and Practical Aspects of P.Yadin 12–15, 27," 105–132; and H. Cotton, "The Guardianship of Jesus Son of Babatha: Roman and Local Law in the Province of Arabia," JRS 83 (1993) 94–108. Against this view, N. Lewis observes that even at the level of scribal practice, evidence of influence from Ptolemaic Egypt is present in the Babatha archive: the abbreviated form of the Doppelurkunden in the archive – the inner text is only an allusive summary of the outer text and depends on a public registry of the full document – is a holdover into the Roman period from Ptolemaic Egypt (ibid., 9).return to text

      21. The Mishnah's word for the office is the Greek word transliterated in Aramaic characters, ʾepîṭĕrôpāʾ, ʾepîṭĕrôpôs, and it reports issues raised in the Greek texts regarding guardians and orphans (see m. B. Qam. 4.4; m. Šebu. 7.8; Šeb. 10.6 on the integrity of guardians). The Mishnah also attends to uniquely Jewish issues attendant to guardian-orphan relations: see m. Pes. 8.1 on where a minor with multiple guardians eats the Passover meal; m. Git. 5.4 on how a minor under guardianship makes a tithe.return to text

      22. Although it may make too much of the language in both texts, it is hard to ignore the assonance between the prohibition against earning πλεόνασμα from the needy in Lev. 25:37b and Dorotheos' expenditure of his own πλείονα in line 7.return to text

      23. For the verbs otherwise typical in assignments of guardianship, see Taubenschlag, op.cit. (above, n. 13) 163; Grundz. Mitt. 254–255. One use of παραδιδόναι (but not προσπαραδιδόναι) vaguely apposite to a grant of guardianship is P.Lond. VII 1976, where a mother petitions officials to give (παραδοῦναι) her daughter to her by retrieving her from a married man who stole her away. return to text

      24. That the key term ἐπίτροπος is absent is not a concern: we saw above that the practice of guardianship seems to have been in place among Jews before the technical language associated with it was adopted.return to text

      25. The petition does not address why Iona only contested the guardianship after so much time, although perhaps she had already done so in formal settings according to Greek norms, but without success, and the abduction of Philippa was her last resort. As to why she might have wanted the responsibility for Philippa, the father and daughter's financial difficulties four years earlier make a financial motive unlikely. Perhaps her motive was something so human and ordinary as maternal affection. return to text

      26. To my knowledge, the only other reading of this petition that has picked up on the possibility that, in spite of the ambiguity of its language, P.Polit.Jud. 7 concerns some sort of guardianship comes in the introduction to a translation of it in B. Janowski and Gernot Wilhelm, Texte aud der Umwelt des Alten Testaments. Neue Folge.Band 1. Texte zum Rechts- und Wirtschaftsleben (Gütersloh 2004) 323–324. Andrea Jördens, the translator, writes in a brief introduction to the translation that Philippa was transferred "als Hausgehilfin (oder gar als Ziehtochter [foster daughter]?)" to Dorotheos to thank Dorotheos for his help (323).return to text

      27. For an example of someone seeking relief from the burden, see SB V 7558 (173 CE), where "Gaius Apollinarius Niger, Antinoite, of the Osirantinoan tribe and of the Hermaian deme" asks "Iulius Lucullus, the honorable epistrategos" to be relieved from the "guardianship of Valeria Tertia, alias Thaisarion" to which he was appointed by the will of the veteran Marcus Anthestius Gemellus.return to text

      28. For the identification of papyri relating to Jews beyond the standard collection in C.Pap.Jud., see I. Fikhman, "L'état des travaux au 'Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum' IV," in B. Kramer et al. (eds.), Akten des 21. Internationalen Papyrologenkongresses (Stuttgart-Leipzig 1997) I 290–296; see now also P.Phrur.Diosk. 1; for a discussion of the controversial issue of what constitutes a "text involving Jews," see G. Bohak, "Good Jews, Bad Jews, and Non-Jews in Greek Papyri and Inscriptions," in Kramer et al., op.cit., 105–112.return to text