Diplomatics, Law and Romanisation in the Documents from the Judaean Desert

E A Meyer

in Beyond Dogmatics

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780748627936
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651474 | DOI:
Diplomatics, Law and Romanisation in the Documents from the Judaean Desert

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Romanisation is the umbrella term for complex and centuries-long phenomena of cultural exchange that created a diverse but recognisably similar Mediterranean world by AD 250. Ancient legal documents and their physical forms can shed light on this process, especially in important aspects like the degree and speed of the spread of Roman legal practices and the Greek language in the Roman East, the number of local components retained, and how (possibly even why) neighbouring peoples reacted differently to Roman examples. This chapter discusses the Roman-period legal documents found in the Judaean desert. One of the great questions about these documents since their discovery has been just how ‘Jewish’ the law signified in them was. The external indicators discussed here — of language, dating formulae, physical form, and witnessing — while not in and of themselves probative, help to point in certain directions.

Keywords: Roman law; legal documents; Judean desert; language; dating formulae; physical form; witnessing

Chapter.  15027 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Law

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