Are Hammurabi's Code and Mosaic Law examples of independent development or cultural diffusion?

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Are Hammurabi's Code and Mosaic Law examples of independent development or cultural diffusion?

Exodus: The Story of Moses and the Ten Commandments

One of the most important chapters of Jewish history is told in Exodus, the second book of the Torah. It is the story of how God freed the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt and led them back to the land of Canaan. The word exodus actually means a mass departure.

As you will see, God chooses Moses to go before Pharaoh, the king of the Egyptians, and demand freedom for the Hebrew slaves. After Moses leads the Hebrews out of Egypt, he takes them to Mount Sinai where they receive the 10 commandments and the rest of the Torah. The Torah forms the bedrock of Judaism, containing detailed instructions on day-to-day living, rules by which Jews still live today. Thus, Moses is revered as the most significant Hebrew prophet, and the Exodus as the most significant event in Jewish history.

Many scholars think the Exodus took place around 1250 BCE. According to the traditional Biblical story, the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt four hundred years before the "going out.

Stele of Hammurabi 1700 B.C.E.

Hammurabi was a Babylonian king who conquered much of Mesopotamia elevating Babylon from a city-state to an empire. While it is no longer considered the very first code of law, it is certainly the most famous of the ancient world. Hammurabi's subjects appreciated his code because it eliminated what must have been a very arbitrary approach to crime and punishment. Hammurabi's code is the first example of a legal system that presumes innocence and allows for the submission of evidence. Almost half of the code is contract law setting the wages that each profession was to be paid. The stele also has a list of the towns and territories that were part of the Babylonian empire. Punishments for crimes were also listed in detail, such as the famous eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth edict. Each of Hammurabi's laws is carved in minute cuneiform underneath the bas relief depicting Hammurabi standing at attention and receiving blessings from the seated sun god Shamash. This is a clever example of size hierarchy because while Hammurabi's head is actually taller than Shamash's head, Shamash would tower over Hammurabi were he to stand up from his throne. stela of hammurabi

Code of Hammurabi
One of the earliest and most complete written ancient legal codes was proclaimed by the Babylonian king Hammurabi, who reigned from 1792 to 1750 B.C. Hammurabi expanded the city-state of Babylon along the Euphrates River to unite all of southern Mesopotamia. His code, a collection of 282 laws and standards, stipulated rules for commercial interactions and set fines and punishments to meet the requirements of justice. Hammurabi’s Code was proclaimed at the end of his reign and carved onto a massive, finger-shaped black stone stela (pillar) that was looted by later invaders and rediscovered in 1901 by a French archaeological team in present-day Iran.


Archaeological and other non-Biblical evidence of the destruction of Jerusalem

Nebuchadnezzar's siege of Jerusalem, his capture of King Jeconiah, his appointment of Zedekiah in his place, and the plundering of the city in 597 BCE as described in 2 Kings in the Bible are confirmed by a passage in the Babylonian Chronicles:[15]:293

"In the seventh year, in the month of Kislev, the king of Akkad mustered his troops, marched to the Hatti-land, and encamped against the City of Judah and on the ninth day of the month of Adar he seized the city and captured the king. He appointed there a king of his own choice and taking heavy tribute brought it back to Babylon".

Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian forces returned in 588/586 BCE and rampaged through Judah, leaving clear archaeological evidence of destruction in many towns and settlements there.[15]:294 Clay ostraca referred to as the Lachish letters from this period were discovered during excavations; one, which was probably written to the commander atLachish from an outlying base, describes how the signal fires from nearby towns are disappearing: "And may (my lord) be apprised that we are watching for the fire signals of Lachish according to all the signs which my lord has given, because we cannot see Azeqah."[19] This correlates with the book of Jeremiah,[20] which states that Jerusalem, Lachish and Azekah were the last cities to fall to the Babylonians. Archaeological finds from Jerusalem testify that virtually the whole city within the walls was burnt to rubble in 587 BCE and utterly destroyed.[15]:295

1. Directions. Use the above reading to make a time line of Moses, Hammurabi receiving thier respective Laws and the Babylonian Enslavement of the Jews

Comparing the Code of Hammurabi with the Mosaic Law
Directions: Answer all questions supporting your answers with specific text based evidence.

1. list origins of both Hammurabic and Mosaic Laws by date, location, and method the laws were given.

2. What categories of personal & societal life do both codes include?

3. List a few specific similarities between the two codes.

4. How egalitarian is each code towards its citizens? Give several examples

5. Using the timeline of origins and Isrealite captivity, what supports or refutes that Mosaic Law and Hammurabic Code are creations of Independent Development or Cultural Diffusion.

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