[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53 read within the book as a whole

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Thu May 27 18:27:45 EDT 2004

On 27/05/2004 13:02, Lisbeth S. Fried wrote:

>Dear Vadim,
>I hope by "Jews of this time" you mean the Persian period,
>the period in which the text is set. At this time there
>was no concept of written law. I'm sure it is Greek.
>There is no written law in Mesopotamia and none in Egypt
>until the advent of the Ptolemies. There is a lot of work
>on law codes, see my article in Persia and Torah for a review.
>The word torah should be translated like hep, like data, etc.
>I have tried to show that the reading of the torah in Ezra-Neh.
>and the concept of Mosaic law which should be followed by all
>is an Hellenic invention. That article should be out this fall
>in a special Transeuphratene supplement. There were lists of
>examples of just decisions, as in Hammurabi's Code, in the 
>hp that Darius collected, in the Priestly Code of Leviticus, etc.,
>but this should not be mistaken for a law code as we would
>consider laws. The concept of no law except what is written
>in the torah is anachronistic for the Persian period. It may
>even be anachronistic for the Hellenic period. Perhaps a real
>legal system is Roman.
Liz, you have done a nice job of setting up a straw man and shooting it 
down. Of course there was no Roman style legal system in the Persian or 
earlier periods, as that would be an anachronism. No one has ever 
claimed that there was. But each of these periods had its own form of 
written law. Hammurabi's code is written law. So is Leviticus. So are 
some Egyptian texts. If there are no surviving Persian texts, that's 
probably because they wrote them on perishable material, for there is 
certainly evidence of written decrees, as in all the Persian period 
Bible books. Just because they are not Roman style written laws, that 
does not imply that they are not written laws. Of course that is not to 
say that law was restricted to what is written down, any more than it is 
in England and the USA today where common law is still unwritten. But 
did anyone ever claim such a restriction?

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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