Methodological Essay on Commercial Contracts


In this essay, some of the central issues concerning the legal phraseology of commercial contracts in the Geniza are discussed. These issues include not only questions about the text of these contracts themselves and the relationship of commercial contracts to Jewish and Islamic law but also what insights commercial contracts in the Geniza might offer social and economic historians into how both court practice and business were actually conducted in the medieval Islamic Mediterranean. Following this brief discussion are a transcription and a translation of an actual thirteenth-century business agreement.

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  • 12 December 2019

    The original article was published with an incorrect version of footnote 3. The correct text appears below.

    <Superscript>3</Superscript>The following conventions were followed in compiling the transcription and the translation. Square brackets indicate a lacuna of any length, parentheses the completion of an abbreviated text. Different type styles have been employed to indicate the different languages used in the document: Judeo-Arabic appears in roman type, Hebrew is underlined, and Aramaic is italicized.

    The text of the original article has been updated.

    Figures 1 and 2 should have been published in the above-mentioned article. The omitted figures and figure captions appear on the next pages.

    <Emphasis Type="Italic">Figure 1</Emphasis>. Jewish Theological Seminary ENA NS 13.34 recto. Image provided by The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary.

    <Emphasis Type="Italic">Figure 2</Emphasis>. Jewish Theological Seminary ENA NS 13.34 verso. Image provided by The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary.

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Correspondence to Phillip I. Lieberman.

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The original version of this article was revised: Footnote 3 has been updated.

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Lieberman, P.I. Methodological Essay on Commercial Contracts. JEW HIST 32, 429–435 (2019).

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  • Trade
  • Agency
  • Partnership
  • Commerce
  • Medieval