‘he agreed not to force his wife to sit in the light of the Sabbath, nor eat the fat tail, nor profane her own festivals’

David and Nashiyya’s marriage was an unusual one: Nashiyya belonged to the Jewish Karaite sect and David was a Rabbanite. Karaism rejected mainstream Judaism and sought to return to a more ‘pure’ form of the Jewish religion, one based on the teachings of the Bible alone. It rejected centuries of rabbinic tradition. Although Jewish writers of the Middle Ages often viciously attacked the Karaites, evidence from the Genizah shows the two sects often cooperated. This expensively written marriage deed (ketubba) is evidence of just such cooperation. It was a prestigious match – the couple were from wealthy and important families and the deed stipulates that the couple will respect each other’s interpretation of Jewish customs and festivals.

Egypt, 1082 CE

Aramaic and Hebrew, parchment,

T-S 24.1