State document: BL OR 5552.2–2a

State document BL OR 5552.2–2a



State document, Fatimid period. Dated: 4 Rajab 523H, which is 23 June 1129 CE. Reporting that two trustworthy witnesses from Alexandria had given testimony, and that a document had come in answer to their testimony. One of their names has been preserved: Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn b Ḥātim b. Ṣadaqa b. ʿUmar. Contains a registration mark (al-ḥamdu li-llāh ʿalā niʿamih). Another scribe has reused the document to copy the Fihrist of Shemu’el b. Hofni gaʾon. Details: An official document belonging to X (unnamed person: the هـ of kitab) was presented somewhere, but it needed to be verified, so two witnesses ratified it, presumably in Alexandria. The ratified document was then sent to a chancery where our writer recorded its contents, and equally importantly, registered the names of the two witnesses who had vouched for its authenticity. This is a bifolio register destined for the central Fatimid archives. Without more information on person X, and on the nature of this كتاب (was it a receipt, a legal deed, a rescript?), the document remains tantalizing and opaque, but useful as evidence of registration and archiving. Reused for the fihrist (index to the writings) of Shemuʾel b. Ḥofni (one fragment) and for Bava Metzia 49b (the other fragment: someone buying wine learned that Parzak the vizier was going to confiscate it, so he tried to renege before taking possession of the wine. R. Hisda approved: "just as they instituted 'pulling' with regard to sellers, so did they institute 'pulling' with regard to buyers"). (MR)