Previously, at Elephantine

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Karel van der Toorn



This article looks at the evidence for a turbulent episode in the life of the Jewish community at Elephantine. In the months leading up to the destruction of the Yaho temple, the summer of 410 BCE, Jews and Egyptians found themselves at loggerheads in a conflict about a precious stone. The stone had been stolen from the Egyptians and then turned up in the hands of Jewish traders. Six letters from the Elephantine archives document the affair. Their analysis leads to the reconstruction of a crucial period in the relations between Persians, Jews, and Egyptians in the late Achaemenid era.

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