A History of Ancient Near Eastern Law - Vol. 2

By Raymond Westbrook; Gary Beckman et al. | Go to book overview

ANATOLIA AND THE LEVANT
ISRAEL
Tikva Frymer-Kenski

1. SOURCES OF LAW

Almost all our information about law in ancient Israel comes from the Bible itself; practical documents would have been written on perishable material and have long since disintegrated. Two documents survive, written on ostraca because of the difficult situation in which they were composed. Most of the overtly legal material is in the Pentateuch (Torah), with occasional mention in narratives, prophets, psalms, and proverbs. Much legal information can also be gleaned from narratives, both the Pentateuchal narratives in which the legal sections are embedded and the historical narratives.1


1.1 Pentateuch

1.1.1 Essential Prescriptions

1.1.1.1 The Ten Commandments2

The most famous set of instructions in the Bible and perhaps all of Western literature is the Ten Commandments, recorded in Exodus 20:2–17 and Deuteronomy 5:6–21.3 These commandments are absolute imperatives whose regulations appear often in the Pentateuch, with the exception of the tenth commandment (“Thou shalt not covet”). The commandments are in the second person masculine singular, they contain no penalties, and are presented as the conditions for being part of the community established at Sinai. Scholars believe that the original form of the commandments was very terse and has been expanded with explanatory phrases: these are notably different

____________________
1
See Weinfeld, “Ancient Israelite Religion, ” 487–490; Phillips, Ancient Israel's Criminal Law.
2
Weinfeld, “The Decalogue…”
3
See Segal, ed., The Ten Commandments

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A History of Ancient Near Eastern Law - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents of Volume Two *
  • Part Three - First Millennium 775
  • Egypt - Third Intermediate Period 777
  • Bibliography 813
  • Egypt - Demotic Law 819
  • Bibliography 855
  • Egypt - Elephantine 863
  • Mesopotamia - Neo-Assyrian Period 883
  • Bibliography 907
  • Mesopotamia - Neo-Babylonian Period 911
  • Bibliography 968
  • Anatolia and the Levant - Israel 975
  • Bibliography 1042
  • International Law - International Law in the First Millennium 1047
  • Bibliography 1064
  • Indices 1067
  • Subject Index 1069
  • Index of Ancient Terms 1141
  • Index of Texts Cited 1161
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