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By Philip F. Esler

Babatha's Orchard tells a narrative that has long gone untold for almost thousand years. it's a tale that might have perished with the final individual conversant in its details--the Jewish girl Babatha, daughter of Shim'on ben Menahem. Babatha used to be most likely killed or enslaved by way of Roman squaddies on the finish of Shim'on ben Kosiba's insurrection in one hundred thirty five CE, once they captured a collapse a wadi operating into the western shorelines of the useless Sea within which she and different Jewish fugitives were sheltering. In 1961, a workforce of archaeologists chanced on a cache of possessions that Babatha had conscientiously hidden sooner than her existence or freedom used to be most likely taken via the Romans. between them have been thirty-five felony files dated from ninety four CE to 132 CE, written on papyrus in Aramaic and Greek, with regards to Babatha and her relatives, and the leather-based pouch during which that they had been stored.

In this paintings, Philip F. Esler examines the 1st 4 records of the archive in chronological order--Papyri Yadin 1-4, the 1st from ninety four CE and the second one, 3rd and fourth from ninety nine CE, and all drafted in Nabatean Aramaic. even if from the land and time of the Bible, they exhibit a story of household existence. it's the tale of ways, round December ninety nine CE, Shim'on, Babatha's father (but most likely sooner than she used to be born), suddenly got here to obtain an irrigated date-palm orchard in his village of Maoza, at the southern shore of the useless Sea, within the country of Nabatea. Esler undertakes an in depth studying of P. Yadin 1-4, with occasional connection with wider contextual concerns from the lifeless Sea area and different elements of the traditional Mediterranean world.

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