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date: 28 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Originally, law and wisdom were indistinct from one another. Both case law and ethos made up family norms of behavior and were transmitted orally from generation to generation. Over time, case law was supplemented by written statutes; the earliest known codes in Mesopotamia were from Sumer, followed by Akkadian, Babylonian, and Hittite exemplars. Ethos developed into proverbial sayings and instructions, debates, and dialogue. The early sapiential corpus (Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes) ignored biblical law (the Covenant Code, Decalogue, Deuteronomy, Holiness Code). That situation changed with Sirach and Wisdom of Solomon, who fused wisdom with law. Among sages, torah, the usual word for law, was used to indicate (1) the first five books of the Bible; (2) parental instruction; and (3) specific statutes. This chapter examines all three senses, focusing on the Deuterocanonical books.

Keywords: act/consequence, case law, customary behavior, ethos, paideia, Sirach, torah, Wisdom of Solomon

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