Inventing God's Law

Inventing God's Law : How the Covenant Code of the Bible Used and Revised the Laws of Hammurabi

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Description

In this book David Wright draws on three of his influential published essays to create a boldly revisionist account of the origin of the so-called Covenant Collection of the Torah (Exodus 20:23-23:19). He argues that this body of law depends mainly on the Laws of Hammurabi and to some extent on other cuneiform law collections, that it is chiefly the work of a single author, that it is to a significant degree the result of intellectual interaction with the author's sources rather than a collection of Israelite/Judean legal traditions, and that it may have had a politically ideological purpose, somewhat similar to that of the Laws of Hammurabi. Wright presents his argument in three parts. Part One lays out the evidence for the Covenant Collection's dependence of the Laws of Hammurabi and other Akkadian law collections, and argues that the time frame for this dependence was in the Neo-Assyrian period (8th century BCE). Part Two explores the techniques and logic used by the author who composed the Covenant Collection. Part Three discusses the larger issues arising from these conclusions, including the degree to which the work reflects Israelite/Judean legal customs, the purpose and ideological nature of the work, other redactional models of the work, the Collection's connection to the larger Sinai narrative, and other biblical literature that appears to have been influenced by Mesopotamian ideas, perhaps in the Neo-Assyrian period. In addition to advancing our understanding of the Covenant Collection itself, Wright's groundbreaking work offers a new basis for the study of the history of biblical law.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 608 pages
  • 162.56 x 226.06 x 27.94mm | 997.9g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195304756
  • 9780195304756
  • 1,189,860

Review quote

...intriguing... * Bruce Wells, Saint Joseph's University * An excellent repository of research on the CC Covenant Code and the LH Laws of Hammurabi. In sum, this work is controversial in the best sense of the word: it will surely stimulate debate on the comparative method in studying not only the CC and LH but other texts as well. * The Catholic Biblical Quarterly *show more

Table of contents

PART I: PRIMARY EVIDENCE FOR DEPENDENCE; SEQUENTIAL CORRESPONDENCES AND DATE; PART II: COMPOSITIONAL LOGIC OF THE COVENANT CODE; BIBLIOGRAPHYshow more

About David P. Wright

David Wright is the Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East at Brandeis Universityshow more

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