[b-hebrew] oral law

Harold Holmyard hholmyard at ont.com
Fri Jun 23 12:31:56 EDT 2006

Dear Lisbeth ,

>I'd like to call your attention to my article in Persia and Torah (SBL
>2001)and all the references cited there which argue that these lists of
>"laws" did not function then as our law codes function today.  In other
>words, they were not true laws, in our sense.  Rather, they were lists
>designed to illustrate a just society. There is no evidence that judges used
>these lists to make judicial decisions.

HH: There is truth in this to some extent, since God Himself was to 
guide the judges in difficult cases. Yet, it seems clear that these laws 
were intended to guide the life of the society as more than a model. 
They provided the actual mode of operation for the society, the most 
basic legal framework from which the relevant details could be filled 
in. There was to be no work on the Sabbath, and the society operated 
according to that law. The Sabbath law apparently had not existed before 
God instituted it in Exodus 16, so it grew directly out of divine 

Harold Holmyard


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