Wisdom-Laws: A Study of the Mishpatim of Exodus 21:1-22:16

TitleWisdom-Laws: A Study of the Mishpatim of Exodus 21:1-22:16
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsJackson, Bernard S.
Number of Pages552
PublisherOxford University Press

We think of law as rules whose words are binding, used by the courts in the adjudication of disputes. Bernard S. Jackson explains that early biblical law was significantly different, and that many of the laws in the Covenant Code in Exodus should be viewed as "`wisdom-laws." By this term, he means "self-executing" rules, the provisions of which permit their application without recourse to the law-courts or similar institutions. They thus conform to two tenets of the "wisdom tradition": that judicial dispute should be avoided, and that the law is a type of teaching, or "wisdom".