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About This Book
The Elephantine texts have been variously studied, mainly with respect to their impact on Jewish history. But these texts have more to offer, particularly in relation to the history of women. Annalisa Azzoni, in The Private Lives of Women in Persian Egypt, delves deeply into these texts, examining these Egyptian Aramaic documents in order to make public the lives of women, including their social status, their economic activities, and their private lives. Azzoni recovers the lives of everyday women, allowing them to take their place in the larger context of women in the ancient Near East.
Challenging any oversimplification about the lives of ancient women, Azzoni painstakingly examines legal documents, administrative texts, and letters. The archives provide a wealth of data in terms of legal and economic status as well as position in the community. Three women receive particular attention in this study: the wealthy Judean Mipṭaḥiah, the Egyptian slave Tamut, and Yehoyismaʿ, Tamut’s manumitted daughter.