Biblical Archaeology Review 24:2, March/April 1998

How Women Differed

By Tal Ilan

Babatha’s archive, described in the foregoing article by Anthony J. Saldarini, is not the only Jewish woman’s archive found in the Judean desert. Another, much smaller archive, belonging to Salome Komaise, was discovered in nearby Wadi Seelim (according to the Bedouin from whom it was purchased).1 These two archives provide a glimpse into the special problems facing women in the second century C.E. and compare interestingly to three contemporaneous men’s archives excavated from the same area, some of them from the same cave.

The Salome Komaise archive consists of just six documents, as compared with the 35 documents in the Babatha archive. But both include three especially significant documents: a marriage contract, a deed of gift and a renunciation of claims.2

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