Chapter

Slavery

Bernard S. Jackson

in Wisdom-Laws

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780198269311
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683596 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198269311.003.0003
Slavery

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The Mishpatim commence with an elaborate passage, of two linked paragraphs, dealing with the duration of slavery for the eved and amah. The passage is of interest as much for its literary characteristics as for its content. The latter has prompted considerable scholarly debate. In common with others, this book regards the possible origins of the terminology as less significant than the analysis of its use in the present context, and thus of the circumstances in which such slavery arose. And this, the book suggests, is readily ascertainable from the law itself in combination with later biblical sources and wealth of comparative material. In the ancient world in general, there were two principal sources of slavery — capture in war and debt-slavery. Debt-slavery was normally not a permanent status: correspondingly, the master's rights in respect of disposal, offspring, and discipline were limited.

Keywords: Mishpatim; eved; amah; law; slavery; capture; war; debt-slavery

Chapter.  25227 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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