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Jews of Egypt

April 16, 174 B.C.E. A Contract for a Loan with Interest, Drawn up in Trikomia in Faiyum
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April 16, 174 B.C.E. A Contract for a Loan with Interest, Drawn up in Trikomia in Faiyum

In the seventh year of the reign of Ptolemy son of Ptolemy and Cleopatra II, gods Epiphaneis, when Philostratos was priest of Alexander and the gods Soteres and the gods Adelphoi and the gods Euergetai and the gods Philopatores and the gods Epiphaneis and the gods Philometores, Aspasia daughter of Chrysermos being athlophoros of Berenice […]

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182 B.C.E. A Contract for a Loan without Interest
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182 B.C.E. A Contract for a Loan without Interest

Apollonios son of Protogenes, Jew of the Epigone, has lent to Sostratos son of Neoptolemos, Jew of the epigone, two talents three thousand drachmas of copper money without interest for one year from the date above written on the security of the house belonging to him and its court and all appurtenances situated at Apias […]

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Third Century B.C.E. Sabbath (Zenon Archive)
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Third Century B.C.E. Sabbath (Zenon Archive)

Zenon Archive/Tebtunis Papyrus III 817; CPJUD. I 23 We have reason to believe that, by and large, the Jews of Egypt observed the Judaic commandments. A papyrus from the “Zenon Archive” dating from the third century B.C.E. attests the respect of the Sabbath: in a tally of brick deliveries, the number of bricks delivered on […]

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May 11, 218 B.C.E. Jewish Divorce
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May 11, 218 B.C.E. Jewish Divorce

Papyrus Enteuxeis 23; CPJUD. I 128 A papyrus, containing the complaint of a woman married to a Jewish man. She had addressed her case (May 11, 218 B.C.E.) to the king: To King Ptolemy greeting from Helladote, daughter of Philonides. I am being wronged by Jonathas, the Jew … He has agreed by a written […]

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250 B.C.E. The Septuagint and the Library of Alexandria
By October 10, 2016 Read More →

250 B.C.E. The Septuagint and the Library of Alexandria

According to a legend preserved in the so-called Letter of Aristeas (no one knows who actually wrote it), the Septuagint translation of the Bible was commissioned by Ptolemy II Philadelphus of Egypt so that he would have a copy of the Jewish lawbook for his famous library in Alexandria. To secure the cooperation of Eleazer, […]

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250 B.C.E. Septuagint
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250 B.C.E. Septuagint

Hebrew Bible Text Translated into Greek Who had decided to translate the Torah into Greek, and why was the decision taken? Two doctrines are currently professed. The first being a royal among the proponents of a royal initiative. This thesis is founded on a Jewish legend, later adopted by the Christians, first attested in the […]

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250 B.C.E. Plato
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250 B.C.E. Plato

One of the main pillars which has been used to support an early dating the Letter of Aristeas is a passage of the Jewish philosopher Aristobulus, quoted in Eusebius concerning Plato. The passage reads as follows: Praeparatio Evangelica 13.12.2. It is evident that Plato (427–327 B.C.E) was a follower of our (e.g. Jewish) code of […]

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250 B.C.E. Synagogues in Egypt
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250 B.C.E. Synagogues in Egypt

Two documents concern synagogues in Egypt. Both date from the middle of the third century B.C.E. the first originated in Schedia, near Kafr ed-Dauwar, southeast of Alexandria. Schedia was an important customs post on the Nile; the Jewish settlement here may have had some relation to the river guard, which, according to Josephus (Against Apion […]

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320 B.C.E. Jewish Slaves
By October 9, 2016 Read More →

320 B.C.E. Jewish Slaves

The Letter of Aristeas mentions 100,000 Jews who had been carried to Egypt (e.g. from Judaea) by King Ptolemy Soter in 320 B.C.E. as prisoners of war, but were liberated by his successor Ptolemy Philadelphus (e.g. in 312 B.C.E.) Source: Ben-Zvi, Itzhak. The Exiled and the Redeemed (p. 288); How the Septuagint Differs. Biblical Archaeology […]

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332 B.C.E. Alexander the Great
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332 B.C.E. Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great’s conquest of Egypt opened the floodgates of a new Jewish immigration to Egypt. According to Josephus, and to older accounts he ascribes to Hecataeus of Abdera, Jewish and Samaritan soldiers served in the ranks of Alexander’s armies, in Babylon as well as Egypt. In the Third Century BCE, there were no barriers […]

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