Prosbol or Prozbul

Prosbol Or Prozbul (פרוזבול or פרוסבול) is the name of a legal enactment instituted by Hillel I, or the Great (q.v.). Whether the word is equivalent to the Greek προβουλή or προσβολή, or, as Sachs prefers, πρὸς βουλῇ πρεσβευτῶν, which latter is preferred by Jost and Gritz, cannot be decided. The reason for this curious legal provision, which, though contrary to the law of Moses, was necessitated by the time, and on the whole a very wholesome one, was that because, according to the law (Deuteronomy 15), the claiming of debts was unlawful during the Sabbatical year, the rich would not lend to the poor during that year, which seriously impeded commercial and social intercourse. Hillel found that under these circumstances the warning contained in De 15:9 was disregarded, and in order to do away with this evil he introduced the prosbol or prozbul, i.e. a declaration made before the court of justice at the time of lending not to remit the debt in the Sabbatical year. The formula of this legal declaration was as follows: שיש לי אצל פלוני שאגכנו כל זמן שארצה מוסרני לכם פלוני דייניו שבמקים פלוני שכל חוב — i.e. "I, A B, deliver to you, the judges of the district C, the declaration that I may call in at any time I like all debts due to me;" and it was signed either by the judges or witnesses. Comp. Jost, Geschichte d. Judenth. 1. s. Secten, i, 265 sq.; Gratz, Geschichte der Juden, 3, 172; Edersheim, Hist. of the Jewish Nation, p. 395: Frankel, Hodegetica in Mishnam (Leips. 1859), p. 39; Weiss, Zur Geschichte der jiid. Tradition (Wien, 1872), i, 172; Sachs, Beitrsae zur Sprach- u?. Alterthums. frschungq (Berlin, 1854), No. 2, p. 70; AMishna, Shebiith, 10:1-5; Gittin, 4:3; Peah, 3, 6; Schiirer, Lehrbuch der neutesftmenftlichen Zeitgeschichte (Leips. 1874), p. 457 sq.; Buxtorfii Lexicon Talmnudicum et Chaldaicum, col. 1806 (revised edition by B. Fischer [Leips. 1869-74], col. 898); Derenbourg, Essai sur I'Histoire et la Geographie de la Palestine (Paris, 1867), p. 188 sq.; Low, Beitriaqe zur jiidischen Alterthumskunde (Leips. 1871), vol. i, pt. ii, p. 88 sq. (B. P.)

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