The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Porten, Bezalel (emeritus)


Born 1931, Philadelphia; Ph.D. 1964, Columbia Univ.; Teaching Fellow 1969; Sen. Lect. 1972; Assoc. Prof. 1980.

Research Interests:

The Jews of Elephantine: Aramaic texts, papyri and ostraca.

Research Projects:

1. New collations and editions of Aramaicątexts. Funding: Basic Research Foundation, Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

2. Legal studies of Aramaic documents.

3. Studies of Aramaic papyri and ostraca.

4. Translations ofąGreek, demotic and Coptic documents from Elephantine/Syene (with J.J. Farber, C. Martin, L. MacCoull and S. Clackson).

Abstracts of Current Research:

New editions of Aramaic texts: (with A. Yardeni):

New collations of Aramaic documents are made at source and new hand-copies areąproduced. An introduction, translation and commentary are provided for each text.

Legal studies of Aramaic papyri: (in part with H.Z. Szubin):

A holistic approach is applied to the study of Aramaic papyri to reveal the legal realia underlying each situation. Legal terms are clarified and unrecognized legal practices are exposed. Contracts are viewed as precisely redacted documents, and comparison made with biblical and demotic texts.

Studies of Aramaic papyri and ostraca:

This project entails an encyclopedic study of the papyri, and includes a survey of all Aramaic ostraca.

Anthology of Elephantine/Syene papyri: (with J.J. Farber, C. Martin, L. MacCoull and S. Clackson):

A collection of papyri inąhieratic, Aramaic, demotic, Greek and Coptic, spanning 2000 years is examined. The anthology includes literal translation, formatting and commentary of hieratic papyri, Achaemenid Aramaic papyri, demotic documents of the Late and Ptolemaic periods, Greek documents of the Ptolemaic and Byzantine periods, and Coptic texts of the Byzantine period.

Key words: Jews of Elephantine; Elephantine; papyri; Aramaic texts

Recent Publications:

Porten, B. and Yardeni, A. (1991) Three unpublished Aramaic ostraca. Maarav, 7: 207-227 (with 4 figures and 4 plates).

Porten, B. (1992) Aramaic-demotic equivalents: Who is the borrower and who the lender? In: Life in a Multi-Cultural Society: Egypt from Cambyses to Constantine and Beyond (Studies in Ancient Oriental Society, vol.51), ed. J. Johnson, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, pp.259-264.

Szubin, H.Z. and Porten, B. (1992) An Aramaic joint venture agreement: A new interpretation of the Bauer-Meissner papyrus. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 288: 67-84.

Porten, B. (1993) Elephantine Aramaic contracts and the priestly literature. In: Minhah le-Nahum: Biblical and Other Studies Presented to Nahum M. Sarna in Honour of his Seventieth Birthday (JSOT Supplement Series, 154), eds. M. Brettler and M. Fishbane, Sheffield, JSOT Press, pp.257-271.

Porten, B. (1992) Elephantine papyri. In: The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. D.N. Freedman, New York, Doubleday, pp.445-455.

Porten, B. (1993) A survey of Aramaic ostraca letters. Eretz Israel, 24: 164-174 (Hebrew).

Porten, B. and Yardeni, A. (1993) Textbook of Aramaic Documents From Ancient Egypt; Newly Copied, Edited and Translated into Hebrew and English, Vol.3: Literature, Accounts, Lists. Jerusalem, Department of the History of the Jewish People, Hebrew University, 295 + lxvi pp., with 36 foldouts.

Porten, B. and Yardeni, A. (1993) Ostracon Clermont-Ganneau 125(?): A case of ritual purity. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 113: 451-456.

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