Chapter

“Bailment”

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/9780198269311.003.0011
“Bailment”

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The passage commencing Exodus 22:6 and extending to the end of verse 14 forms the basis of the rabbinic classification of the ‘four guardians’. Each type of bailee is based by the rabbis on one section of this passage, and the liabilities of each class are distinguished. The history of early rabbinic law in this area manifests an underlying principle: where the bailment is unilaterally for the benefit of one party or the other, whether it be the bailee or bailor, the risk entailed in the bailment falls primarily upon the party who has such unilateral benefit; where the bailment is bilaterally for the benefit of both parties, there is a more equal division of the risks. The biblical basis for this standard of liability of the gratuitous bailee lies in Exod. 22:7, where a special procedure, involving the divinity, is used where the deposited property has been stolen (but the thief has not been found), in order to determine whether the bailee ‘put his hand to’ the property of his neighbour.

Keywords: rabbinic law; Roman law; bailment; bailee; liability; divinity; Exodus; property

Chapter.  21686 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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