Lecture 10 - Biblical Law: The Three Legal Corpora of JE (Exodus), P (Leviticus and Numbers) and D (Deuteronomy)

author: Christine Hayes, Department of Religious Studies, Yale University
published: Feb. 16, 2011,   recorded: October 2006,   views: 4733

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This lecture introduces biblical law in a comparative approach that identifies similarities and differences between Israelite law and other Ancient Near Eastern legal traditions, such as the Code of Hammurabi. Distinctive features of Israelite law are explained as flowing from the claim of divine authorship.

Reading assignment:

Bible: (1) Legal texts: Lev 18-20, 24:10-23, 25, Num 35, Deut 15, 17, 19, 22, 25 (2) Narrative texts: Deut 1-14, 27-34 (3) Introduction to Deuteronomy (JSB pp. 356-363) (4) "The Modern Study of the Bible" (JSB pp. 2084-96)

Consult the following works: Pritchard, James, ed. "The Laws of Eshnunna," and "The Code of Hammurabi." In The Ancient Near East, Volume 1. pp. 133-166

Pritchard, James, ed. "Collections of Laws from Mesopotamia." In Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955. Sumerian Laws, Laws of Ur-Nammu, Laws of Lipit-Ishtar, Middle Assyrian Laws, Hittite Laws.

Resources: Handout: Laws Represented as Given at Sinai [text] Handout: Biblical Law Study Guide [text]

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