“Generally, three approaches to the law codes of the ancient Near East are adduced. Some scholars see them as idyllic collections of judicial problems and solutions. Others see them as thematic guides meant to serve judges, as juridical training texts. Yet others see them as the king’s statements of self-justification to posterity or to the gods concerning the just character of his reign.9 Whether these putative “laws” indeed served a statutory purpose or, as is more commonly accepted, were statements of juridical philosophy, we may legitimately see them as reflections of wider systems of thought and ideology. When we read a particular “law,” it does not stand on its own, available for immediate interpretation, but must be understood as just one element of the culture in which it is embedded.10 Turning”


Joshua A. Berman, Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought
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