SHEṬAR ("deed"; plural, Sheṭarot):
By: Joseph Jacobs
For the conditions under which these were drawn up in ancient times see Deed. In medieval times the same principles were carried out, but as the deeds with which Jews were concerned were chiefly those determining the indebtedness to them of Christian borrowers, they were mostly accompanied by a Latin translation, which adopted the common forms of the various chancelleries. Both in England and in Germany many of these bilingual deeds existed. The Latin form is generally known as the "starrum," derived from the Hebrew term. It has been conjectured that the Star Chamber at Westminster was so named because it was the repository of the "starra" of the English pre-expulsion Jews.
For the most part in England the deeds acknowledging indebtedness were called in Latin "chartæ," or, later, "chirographs"—a sort of parchment tally. The term "star" was mainly restricted to the receipt rendered by a Jew when he had been paid. The common forms for contracts, or sheṭarot, were collected by Judah ben Barzillai of Barcelona about the beginning of the twelfth century, and were published under the title of "Sefer ha-Sheṭarot" (Berlin, 1898). For specimens of English sheṭarot see Jacobs, "Jews of Angevin England" (pp. 58, 76-77), and Höniger, "Judenschreinsbuch" (Frontispiece).