Towards an Institutional History of the <i>Mishpatim</i>

Bernard S. Jackson

in Wisdom-Laws

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780198269311
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683596 | DOI:
Towards an Institutional History of the Mishpatim

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This chapter reviews the evidence of both the Mishpatim and external sources on which the model of ‘wisdom-laws’ is based, and locates it within an outline history of dispute-resolution processes. While firm datings must remain highly speculative, relative sequencing within such a history is less so, not only because institutional development from mechanisms of self-help to formal adjudication is one of the few legal developmental patterns which survives the attack on 19th-century evolutionism, but also because we can here correlate it, to a significant extent, with literary and source-critical development. Such a correlation may itself claim solid theoretical foundations, since the development from a ‘pre-modern’ to a ‘modern’ model has cognitive as well as institutional aspects: the language it employs moves from popular orality, with its narrative structures, to increasingly specialised forms of literacy.

Keywords: Mishpatim; wisdom-laws; history; adjudication; evolutionism; orality; literacy

Chapter.  25435 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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