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The Oldest Laws in the World

Excerpt from The Oldest Laws in the World: Being an Account of the Hammurabi Code and the Sinaitic Legislation; With a Complete Translation of the Great Babylonian, Inscription Discovered at Susa The object of the present work is to provide a complete and careful translation of the whole of the great Babylonian inscription containing the Laws of Hammurabi, and to bring together in a brief form all the known facts connected with the period of Babylonian history to which it belongs. As, moreover, many persons will be interested in tracing out the dependence of the Mosaic Laws upon the Babylonian legislation a chapter has been devoted to that subject Quite independently, however, of its service in discounting extravagant claims in regard to the originality or excellence of the Jewish Pentateuch, the Code of Hammurabi is destined to be of the utmost value to the student of the history of civilisation, and the evolution of Semitic Law. It may even be found eventually that the influence of the Babylonian Code extended beyond the Semitic boundary, and that it has modified the legal ideas of distant peoples; but as yet it is too early to verify any such suggestion. In any case, however, the age, the extent, and the remarkable state of preservation of this venerable monument of antiquity combine to entitle it to the respect and consideration of every thinking being. Some scholars have claimed that certain of the successors of Hammurabi bore names which exhibited grammatical forms foreign to the Semitic-Babylonian tongue; and they have argued that his dynasty must therefore be of foreign origin. One school is anxious to connect the line with Northern Arabia, the other with Canaan, and both adduce linguistic reasons for their choice. Without entering into these precarious hypotheses, it may be sufficient to remark that we have no evidence whatever as to the grammatical peculiarities of the languages spoken in Arabia or Canaan during the era of Hammurabi - that is to say, before 2000 b.c. The idioms of Arabic and Hebrew may have been very different at that early date to what they became in their classical periods. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
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