Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, , at sacred-texts.com
§ 1. A woman, who becoming widowed or divorced, asserts, "As a virgin I was married," while he [the husband, or his heir] asserts, "No! as a widow thou wast married," [in her case] should there be evidence to prove that she went [to be married] in a myrtle-wreath, 1 and with her hair flowing, her Ketubah is two hundred dinar. R. Jochanan ben Beroka saith, "The distribution of parched corn 2 is also evidence [in her favor]."
§ 2. R. Joshua admitted, "That should a man say to his neighbour, 'This field did belong to thy father, but I bought it of him,' he is to be believed, because the same mouth which binds also unbinds. 3 But should there be evidence that the field [in question] had belonged to the father of his neighbour, and he [the present holder, to justify and maintain his possession] asserts, 'I bought it of him,' he is not to be believed [on his bare unsupported assertion]."
§ 3. Should witnesses declare, "This [attestation] is [in] our handwriting, but we were forced [to attest]," or "we were minors," or "we were [on the score of consanguinity] legally disqualified [from becoming] witnesses," they are to be believed. 4 But if there be witnesses to prove that it is their handwriting, or if their handwriting is proved by other means, they are not to be believed.
§ 4. Should one of them declare, "This is my handwriting, and this is the handwriting of my companion;" and the other likewise declares, "This is my handwriting, and that is the handwriting of my companion," they are to be believed. Should each of them only declare, "This is my handwriting," they require the additional [testimony] of another person. Such is the dictum of Rabbi; but the sages hold that they do not require the additional [testimony] of another person, but every man is to be believed, when he declares, "This is my handwriting."
§ 5. A woman, who declares, "I have been married, but am divorced," is to be believed, because the same mouth which binds also unbinds. 5 But if there is evidence that she had been married, although she asserts, "I am divorced," she is not to be believed [on her bare assertion]. If she declares, "I have been captured by Gentiles, but am undefiled," she is to be believed, because the same mouth which binds also unbinds. 6 But if there is evidence that she was in captivity, although she asserts, "I am undefiled," she is not to be believed. Should the evidence appear after her [being declared qualified for] marriage [with a priest], her marriage is not invalidated.
§ 6. If two women have been captured by heathens, the one declaring, "I have been captive, but am undefiled," and the other likewise declaring, "I have been captive, and am undefiled," neither of them is to be believed. But if they bear testimony in favor of each other, they are to be believed.
§ 7. Such [is] likewise [the case] with two men. [If] one declares, "I am a priest," and the other [also] declares, "I am a priest," neither of them is to be believed. 7 But if they bear testimony in favor of each other, they are to be believed.
§ 8. R. Jehudah saith, "No man is to be raised [admitted] to the priesthood on the testimony of one witness [only]." R. Eleazar saith, "When does this rule hold good? In case there should be any opponents [who gainsay his claim]; but where there is no opposition, they do raise [admit] to the priesthood on the testimony of [only] one witness."
§ 9. A woman who is imprisoned among heathens on account of money matters, is [after her liberation] permitted to her husband [but if imprisoned] under sentence of death, [she is after her liberation]
interdicted to her husband. 8 A town having been taken by siege [storm], all the priestesses [wives of priests] that are within it become disqualified, and their marriage void. But if they have any witness [to attest that they have not been defiled], even [though it be] a bondman or a bondwoman, they are to be believed; whereas no person is to be believed in his own favor. [When Jerusalem was taken] R. Zachariah ben Hakazab [a priest] declared: "[By] this [holy] temple, [I swear] her hand [that of his wife] did not quit my hand from the hour the heathens entered into Jerusalem, and until they left [again]." But they [the sages] answered him: "No man can bear witness in his own favor."
§ 10. [In] the following [cases, men] are to be believed [should they offer] to testify, when grown up, to what they have seen while children. A man is to be believed, who affirms, "This is the handwriting of my father;" "this is my teacher's handwriting;" [or] "this is my brother's handwriting;" [or] "I remember that the woman A.B. went forth [to be married] with a myrtle-wreath and flowing hair;" 9 [or] "that A.B. went out of the school to bathe and eat heave, and that he partook with us on the thrashing-floor;" 10 [or] "that this place is a בית הפרס" 11 [or] "thus far [until this spot] did we go on the Sabbath." 12 But he is not to be believed were he to state, "A.B. had a right of thoroughfare here;" [or] "A.B. had a right here to place his deceased relatives, and to perform funeral laments." 13
244:1 According to others "a veil." Virgin brides wore such ornaments.
244:2 On the marriage of a virgin, parched corn was distributed among the wedding-guests.
244:3 R. Joshua, maintaining that the woman cannot be a trustworthy witness in her own case, and having thereby established a general principle to that effect, admits the exception to his general rule, which is in the case of a man, who having by his own unsupported statement acknowledged a liability that otherwise could not have been brought home to him, is to be believed when he states how, and by what means he became discharged of that liability. For if his own unsupported evidence is to have force against him, it must have equal force for him.
244:4 Provided there be no other evidence than their own admission to prove their handwriting, so that this case comes under the principle of the preceding Mishna, that the same mouth which hinds also unbinds.
245:5 She is consequently at liberty to marry again.
245:6 She is consequently qualified to marry a priest.
245:7 Or considered as entitled to enjoy heave, &c.
246:8 From the libidinous practices of the heathens, it was presumed that they abused her person, and that she consented, in order to save her life.
246:9 That consequently she was married as a virgin.
246:10 That he was a priest, and entitled to heave, &c.
246:11 A burial-place that has been ploughed, and made arable, and the vicinage of which, in a circumference of one hundred Amoth, remains unclean.
246:12 Which indicates the Techoom. (Vide Treatise Erubin, chap. V. 4 5.)
246:13 Because these involve questions of property, requiring full evidence.