Landowners in Roman Palestine 100-300 C.E: A Distinct Social Group

Ben Tsiyon Rozenfeld, Haim Perlmutter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article exposes an extensive population who were a middling group between the rich and poor in Jewish society in Roman Palestine in the first to third centuries C. E. The Hebrew expression ba‘al habayit and the Greek parallel οἰκοẟεσπότηζ initially refer simply to a “householder.” Analyses of literary and archaeological sources from this period demonstrate that these concepts developed a new meaning, against the backdrop of historical events that led to changes in the socio-economic order, and came to refer to the small landowner in Jewish society. The sources describe various features of this group, such as the cooperation between its members. This article also contributes to the debate concerning the existence of middling groups in the society of the Roman Empire.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)327-352
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Ancient Judaism
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2011

RAMBI Publications

  • RAMBI Publications
  • Jews -- Rome -- History
  • Eretz Israel -- History -- 70-1517, Roman, Byzantine and Arab periods


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