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date: 11 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Comparative studies between biblical law and the ancient Near Eastern collections of laws began after the publication of the Laws of Hammurabi in 1902. Biblical law appears to have a relationship to cuneiform law. Literary dependence of one text on another text presupposes that the borrower and the source had direct contact with each other. When and where did the ancient Israelites have such contact with the Laws of Hammurabi? Two periods and places have been proposed that ostensibly fit the situation. Neither of the two examples often referred to by scholars as examples of the relationship of the Covenant Code to the laws of Hammurabi can be considered a translation of the Laws of Hammurabi by the Covenant Code. Although the protases are quite similar, they are not identical; and the apodoses which contain the penalties are different. A logical conclusion is that the penalties appearing in the Covenant Code reflect Israelite conceptions.

Keywords: biblical law, cuneiform law, Mesopotamian law, Laws of Hammurabi, Hittite Laws, Laws of Eshnunna, Laws of Lipit-Ishtar, Covenant Code, Laws of Ur-Namma

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