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Aramäischer Papyrus mit der Geschichte des Weisen und Kanzlers Achiker (Detail). Papyrus mit schwarzer Tinte, 5. Jhd. v. Chr., Elephantine, Ägypten © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung

New Aramaic Papyri from Elephantine in Berlin

The objective of this project is to write an editio princeps with commentary for unpublished Aramaic fragments recently found in a box in Berlin’s Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung. This box, now known as the “Aramaic Box,” has been overlooked for 110 years by scholars working on the Aramaic Papyri from Elephantine, Egypt.

The placement of the new fragments on older publications significantly alters the way in which the documents are to be read, and the discovery of new documents advances our understanding of Aramaic culture. For instance, new fragments of the Story of Ahiqar, a central work in the history of world literature, provide unexpected readings that complicate the literary history of that tale. Other documents, such as a new memorandum belonging to the family of Mibtahiah, the leading Jewish woman on the island, promises to enhance our understanding of the role of her family and the role of women in the ancient Aramaic community on Elephantine. Other fragments further develop the prosopography and toponymy of the previously published Elephantine Aramaic corpus, particularly regarding the religious history of the deities known on the Island. Lastly, the fragments provide examples of unknown Aramaic scribal practices from the Persian Period, and therefore, broaden our understanding on how Aramaic scribes composed and used texts.

Projektleitung: Prof. Dr. Verena Lepper (ÄMP) & Prof. Dr. Dr. Bernd Schipper (HU)
Projektmitarbeiter: Dr. James Moore, Tzulia Siopi (ERC)
Förderung: Fritz Thyssen Stiftung
Projektlaufzeit: 2019 bis 2021