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Joukowsky Institute Classroom

Tracing social thought and the establishment of Social Mores, is a complex endeavor in when examining the history of the Ancient Near east, or indeed and historical period. With respect to Babylon however the Rev. Claude Hermann Walter Johns, M.A. tells us that “material for the study of Babylonian law is singularly extensive without being exhaustive.” The material to which he refers among other things includes the so-called “Law Code of King Hammurabi (B.C. 2285-2242).” I will examine this law code and some of the conflicting translations and interpretations of it since its discovery. I hope to unpack specifically issues surrounding how we come to classify the writings as ‘laws’ rather than as tenets, or commandments. What baggage and assumptions does the term ‘law’ carry with it regarding ancient society and jurisprudence? I will attempt to provide a multi-faceted perspective on Hammurabi’s code through juxtaposition with other a selection of Egyptian texts outlining rules of behavior of the individual, and the consequences resulting from failure to abide by the outlined principles.

Preliminary Bibliography

Van de Mieroop, M, 2005, King Hammurabi of Babylon: a biography, Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.,

Le code de Hammurabi: introduction, traduction et annotation par André Finet, Edition 4. éd., Paris : Cerf, 2002

King, L. W., The Code Of Hammurabi

Chambliss, R., 1959, Social thought, from Hammurabi to Comte,New York, Dryden Press ?, c1954

Hammurabi, King of Babylonia: The oldest code of laws in the world, the code of laws promulgated by Hammurabi, king of Babylon, B.C. 2285-2242, translated by C.H.W. Johns

Ungnad, A., 1879, Selected Babylonian business and legal documents of the Ḫammurabi period

Grimme, Hubert, 1907,The law of Hammurabi and Moses : a sketch / translated from the German of Hubert Grimme. Together with a translation from the Babylonian of the laws discussed, and chapters on the history and archaeology of the Hammurabi and Mosaic codes. By W. T. Pilter, London : Society for promoting Christian knowledge,

Harper, R.F.,1904. The code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon, about 2250 B.C. Autographed text, transliteration, translation, glossary, index of subjects, lists of proper names, signs, numerals, corrections and erasures, with map, frontispiece and photograph of text, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

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