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The Babatha Archive, 93-132 CE

Babatha ArchiveIn 1961, Prof. Yigael Yadin discovered a cache of 37 papyri documents in a cave in Nahal Hever. The documents belonged to a Jewish woman named Babatha and her family. They were written in Greek, Nabatean and Aramaic. They were apparently placed in the cave for safekeeping during the Bar Kokhba Revolt.

The importance of the Babatha Archive is twofold – it provides evidence of the use of Greek in second century Judea, and it provides information about the lives of women during this period.

Babatha was widowed young and had an orphan son. She petitioned against the guardianship set up for her son. She then remarried and was widowed again. Babatha entered into a dispute with her late husband’s other wife about the inheritance.

“Masada- The Yigael Yadin Excavations 1963-1965,” Review author[s]- John J. Collins, Journal of Biblical Literature 110-2 (1991), p.340-343.

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