By John Van Seters
The root for all examine of biblical legislation is the belief that the Covenant Code is the oldest criminal code within the Hebrew Bible and that every one different legislation are revisions of that code. This booklet units forth the novel speculation that these legislation within the covenant code which are just like Deuteronomy and the Holiness Code are in reality later than either one of those, and consequently cannot be taken because the origin of Hebrew legislation.
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The subjects of such encyclopedic, or list, science are also arranged into units and “chapters,” with the result that various collections become a set of highly organized treatises. In terms of both the protasis-apodosis form and the organization of material into similar groupings, the “code” strongly resembles this scholarly scientific tradition. Bottéro admits that the relationship between the condition and its result is not quite the same in the “code,” because the case of an offence, the protasis, does not necessarily lead to the judgment, the apodosis, as it does in the sciences.
This is the evolutionist approach to comparison. It is unnecessary for the present discussion to review the debate between diffusionist and evolutionist theories of cultural comparison; we need only recognize the usefulness of the distinction between the two types of comparison and avoid confusion between them. 87 Of the two types of comparison, it is historical comparison that is most often assumed to apply to the parallels between the Covenant Code and the cuneiform law codes. To further clarify the application of this method, Malul makes a distinction in the nature of historical connection between contact on the literary level and contact on the reality level.
The lex talionis principle in Exod 21:23–25 is found in Lev 24:19–20 and Deut 19:21. The laws in Deut 22:13–29 are in the casuistic style most common in the mishpatim of the Covenant Code while at the same time covering quite a different subject matter (with only one small overlap) so that the Deuteronomic Code laws are not derived from the Covenant Code. This overlooked evidence is enough to call into question Crüsemann’s whole approach to the mishpatim. 71 Concerning the “place, meaning and character”72 of the casuistic laws, Crüsemann states: “The Mishpatim formed a legal document of the monarchic period.
A Law Book for the Diaspora: Revision in the Study of the Covenant Code by John Van Seters