The Biblical Law of Bailment in Its Ancient Near Eastern Contexts
The Biblical Law of Bailment in Its Ancient Near Eastern Contexts This study analyzes the biblical legal institution of bailment, wherein one person gives property to another person for a temporary period. Standing at the crossroads of law and religion, the institution of bailment offers a presently underexploited window into the conceptual underpinnings of biblical law and life in ancient Israel. Using methods such as exegesis and humanistic legal theory, I bring together previously unconnected texts, including Mesopotamian legal documents and biblical narrative, to reconstruct the institution as it functioned and was perceived in ancient Israel. I show that the biblical law is not just a law about bailment, but also a law of fact-finding that ultimately advances a conception of divine justice. I further argue for continuity between the ancient Near Eastern bailment laws and post-biblical Jewish law, demonstrating that the rabbis' distinction between paid and unpaid bailees finds precedent in the Laws of Hammurabi and Mesopotamian practice documents.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 79-02(E), Section: A.;Advisors: Barry L. Eichler.