this issue
previous article in this issuenext article in this issue

Preview first page
Document Details :

Title: Source of Law in the Biblical and Mesopotamian Law Collections
Author(s): HEGER, Paul
Journal: Biblica
Volume: 86    Issue: 3   Date: 2005   
Pages: 324-342
DOI: 10.2143/BIB.86.3.3191715

Abstract :
This study argues that the source of the law constitutes the crucial ideological and practical difference between man-made and God-given codices. In the Mesopotamian codices, while the gods grant to the sovereign the authority to govern, it is he who ultimately creates the relevant laws. He is thus the source of the law and controls its application. God is the only source of biblical law, and is involved in its implementation. This crucial difference has far-reaching consequences. In particular, Mesopotamian laws focus on the redress of harm done to humans and on disruption of human order; further, legal procedures, sanctions and modes of compensation can be changed, forgiven or abolished. Biblical law regards some infractions as harms against humans, but others are also perceived as crimes against the Lord and a disruption of the divine order. Punishments are fixed by God in both cases, and are eternal and inalterable.

Download article