Letter: CUL Or.1081 J28

Letter CUL Or.1081 J28


Input date

In PGP since 2017


Recto: Letter from an unidentified distinguished man to a judge or communal leader. In Judaeo-Arabic. The sender's hand might be known (resembles T-S Misc.28.88, another "mice ate my stuff" letter). Dated: Thursday, 29 Tishrei [4849] AM, which is 1088 CE. But there is a difficulty with this precise date, because 29 Tishrei was actually a Tuesday and because a note on verso states that the letter was received "in the first decade of Tishrei." Based in part on the information from verso, we can deduce that the letter concerns a dispute over a dilapidated wall between the sender's property and that of his neighbor Abū Saʿd. The sender is distressed because some of his key evidence "was in the document which was eaten by the mice." He asks the addressee to try to dig up any documentation that will support his case. His legal adversary has refused to accept testimony except from certified trustworthy witnesses (al-thiqāt). The sender complains about a long history of having to sink money into this house on account of his neighbor. He asks the addressee to treat the house just as he would treat his own house and not to neglect this matter. At the end, he briefly mentions other business matter, including an unpaid suftaja. Verso: The response from two judges, Yeshuʿa b. Avraham and [Sal?]mān b. Elʿazar. They have drawn a box around the response and signed their names at the top of the note. Outside of the box, there appears the date already mentioned: first decade of Tishrei 4349 AM, which is 1088 CE. They address the original sender with respectful terms and explain that the dilapidated wall must be fixed. Its benefit is shared between the two houses, while its base is located on the ground owned by Abū Saʿd. They do not explain the legal consequences of these facts; maybe they simply consulted the court's own records and are providing factual evidence to be used in the ongoing litigation. (Information in part from Goitein's index card.) ASE