By David P. Wright
Such a lot students think that the varied similarities among the Covenant Code (Exodus 20:23-23:19) and Mesopotamian legislation collections, particularly the legislation of Hammurabi, which date to round 1750 BCE, are as a result of oral culture that prolonged from the second one to the 1st millennium. This publication deals a essentially new figuring out of the Covenant Code, arguing that it relies without delay and basically upon the legislation of Hammurabi and that using this resource textual content happened throughout the Neo-Assyrian interval, someday among 740-640 BCE, while Mesopotamia exerted powerful and non-stop political and cultural impression over the kingdoms of Israel and Judah and a time while the legislation of Hammurabi have been actively copied in Mesopotamia as a literary-canonical textual content. The research bargains major new proof demonstrating version of literary dependence is the single achievable cause of the paintings. It additional examines the compositional good judgment utilized in remodeling the resource textual content to supply the Covenant Code, therefore supplying a remark to the biblical composition from the hot theoretical viewpoint. This research exhibits that the Covenant Code is essentially an artistic educational paintings instead of a repository of legislation practiced by way of Israelites or Judeans over the process their heritage. The Covenant Code, too, is an ideological paintings, which remodeled a paradigmatic and prestigious criminal textual content of Israel's and Judah's imperial overlords right into a assertion symbolically countering overseas hegemony. The learn is going additional to check the connection of the Covenant Code to the narrative of the e-book of Exodus and explores how this can relate to the advance of the Pentateuch as an entire.
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Extra info for Inventing God's Law: How the Covenant Code of the Bible Used and Revised the Laws of Hammurabi
For example, the original assault and deposit laws consisted respectively of 21:18–19, 22 and 22:6, 7aα [plus some now missing text in this verse], 9a, 18 Inventing God’s Law 11, 12, 13, 14a. These and other individual units were expanded by scribes in Israelite towns. The assault laws, for example, were supplemented to include all of 21:18–32, and the deposit laws to include 22:6–13. Otto says that influence from Mesopotamian legal tradition is visible in CC at the later stage, mainly in redactional and organizational techniques, such as presenting a series of alternating cases and chiastic arrangement.
1 This matches the genre of the central body of laws in the Laws of Hammurabi. This general correlation has been noted by scholars ever since the discovery of LH at the beginning of the twentieth century. But what scholars have not recognized is that the laws or legal topics in the casuistic laws of CC and LH share almost the same sequence. These points of similarity, fourteen by my numbering, account for the majority of CC’s casuistic laws. Several of the casuistic laws of CC that do not follow this basic order still have correspondences with LH.
45 As for the development of the text of CC, Westbrook has argued that the models of textual growth suggested by scholars such as Otto or Schwienhorst-Schönberger are inconsistent with the editorial evidence of cuneiform analogues. One must assume that the text is coherent and consistent. 46 Schwienhorst-Schönberger’s study, like Otto’s, is concerned with charting CC’s redactional history. 48 Rather than consisting of Westbrook’s common problems or questions, this tradition Introduction: The Basic Thesis and Background 19 may have been rather specific and may have, in addition to its largely oral content, included some unknown mediating texts that influenced CC to some degree.