A Demotic Parallel to the Aramaic hnṣl of Elephantine

In: Aramaic Studies
Brandon Simonson Boston University

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This article examines the appearance of the Aramaic hnṣl clause in the Elephantine legal corpus in order to establish the specific legal function of the clause and explore its origins in ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian legal material. In the end, a Demotic equivalent to hnṣl reveals a strong parallel in legal function, which is to protect property from being reclaimed by former owners or those who may have a claim to ownership, especially between those of unequal status in society. It is concluded that the equivalent terms, the Aramaic hnṣl and the Demotic ṯꜣy, demonstrate the local development of a technical legal term at Elephantine, illustrating how locally prevailing law was able to thrive in Persian Egypt.

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