Re: [ANE-2] Law Codes in the ANE and in ancient Israel
I also highly recommend Michael LeFebvre's book, which, largely relying
on arguments from Ezra-Nehemiah, deconstructs the notion that the Torah
attained authoritative legal status as prescriptive law during the Persian
Period, and adduces powerful arguments that this took place under Ptolemy II
Philadelphus and thereafter in Ptolemaic Egypt, where we appear to see the
Torah in use as a Jewish legal code in Ptolemaic courts. His arguments that
the court system of Philadelphus introduced the Jews to the use of Torah
as a law code are highly compatible with my own views that the Torah was
authored in Alexandria under the royal patronage of Philadelphus using
Hellenistic sources from the Great Library.
But I agree with Liz that this discussion, however interesting, is better
suited to the Biblical Studies discussion group. I will cross-post to
facilitate the transition.
Well, all this is very interesting. I agree that at some point in time
Israel/Judah passed from an ANE view of the world to a Greek one. At that
time law codes became prescriptive. We can certainly see this in the books
of Maccabees, Daniel, Esther, and of course, Josephus.
When would this change have occurred? Can we detect both points of view in
the biblical texts or only the one?
In any case, I was talking about the historical people Israel who lived in
the land of Canaan prior to 586. I think those people had an ANE view of
world. Imo, whatever law codes existed then were irrelevant for the daily
life of the people, but were scribal speculations on the meaning of
What view the texts reflect is a separate question entirely. For this
question, I suggest Michael LeFebvre's book, Collections, Codes, and Torah,
which asks this very question: Do the biblical texts reflect an ANE or a
Greek attitude toward laws and law codes.
In fact, I'd like everyone to read it, I'd be interested in reactions. I
think tho that is a question for the biblical studies list, not this one.
All the best,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Dear Raz
Many thanks indeed for the debate, and please keep me up to date on your future studies.
It seems to me a pity that so few venture into this fascinating field, and also, that few take time to exchange opinions on the developments in it.
Rob Tye, York, UK