By John Van Seters
The root for all research of biblical legislation is the belief that the Covenant Code is the oldest criminal code within the Hebrew Bible and that every one different legislation are revisions of that code. This publication units forth the unconventional speculation that these legislation within the covenant code which are just like Deuteronomy and the Holiness Code are in reality later than either one of those, and accordingly cannot be taken because the origin of Hebrew legislations.
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Additional info for A Law Book for the Diaspora: Revision in the Study of the Covenant Code
W. 47 This form of law had often been viewed as a mixed form or degenerate version of the casuistic form that uses the conditional in the third person. ” Gilmer demonstrated, however, that it was a distinct form in its own right and that it was very frequently used in Deuteronomic laws that are fundamental to the character of the book itself. In Deuteronomy, but also in the Covenant Code and the Holiness Code, it is very characteristic of the humanitarian laws and it is often interchangeable with apodictic law as its direct equivalent.
Much emphasis falls on the diversity of covenant traditions in the Old Testament itself. 3) The connection between the treaty form and the traditions of the Mosaic covenant is undeniable, but the clearest links are between Deuteronomy and the Assyrian (and Aramaic) treaties of the 8th–7th centuries. . 4) New studies on specific law types have fragmented Alt’s “apodictic” category, and called into question every attempt to derive legal forms from a treaty or covenant tradition. 51 This is quite a good assessment of the situation in the late 1970s, and while Chamberlain supports the Documentary Hypothesis and works within this frame of reference even when his results suggest the need for revision, the value of his work is in his comparative form-critical approach.
For him, an early date for the mishpatim is beyond dispute, and he discusses the arguments for their early dating but comes to no clear conclusion about the period of origin except to 28 A Law Book for the Diaspora note the local agrarian and village character of the laws. 82 Nevertheless, he holds that Deuteronomy, structured as the farewell speech of Moses, is the last word and the “canonical and normative interpretation” not only of the Covenant Code but also of P and the Holiness Code as well.