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Legal Tablet from Hazor


Here is an auspicious press release from the Hazor Expedition:

Hazor Law Code Fragments

The Selz Foundation Hazor Excavations in Memory of Yigael Yadin have recovered two fragments of a cuneiform tablet preserving portions of a law code at Hazor.

The text parallels portions of the famous Law Code of Hammurabi, and, to a certain extent even the Biblical “tooth for a tooth”. The team is presently working its way down towards a monumental structure dating to the Bronze Age, where more tablets are expected to be found.

The tablet is currently being studied at the Hebrew University. More details to follow as soon as possible.

The excavations are sponsored by the Hebrew university and the Israel Exploration Society, and take place in the Hazor National Park.

End of press release.



Rollston’s Bibliographic Suggestions and Brief Reflections on this Subject…

Because the Code of Hammurabi is mentioned (in the press release), readers might wish to refer to the discussion published in MAARAV between David Wright and Bruce Wells.  Namely, Wright, “The Laws of Hammurabi as a Source for the Covenant Collection…” (MAARAV 10 [2003]: 11-87), and then a response from Bruce Wells entitled “The Covenant Code and Near Eastern Legal Traditions: A Response to David P. Wright” (MAARAV 13 [2006]: 85-118), then Wright’s reply entitled “The Laws of Hammurabi and the Covenant Code: A Response to Bruce Wells” (MAARAV 13 [2006]: 211-260).  Wright subsequently published a book that revolves around this subject matter (and the substance of Wright’s MAARAV articles are contained in the book). 

In any case, because of the nature of this new Hazor find, and the wording of the press release, I suspect that the same issues that Wells and Wright discuss (in a very collegial, but direct, fashion) will soon surface again, this time as part of this new Hazor tablet.

Most readers will already know this, but suffice it to state that the amount of extant legal material in Mesopotamian cuneiform is vast…coming from the Center (i.e., Mesopotamia proper) and also from the Periphery (e.g., Syria). 

Christopher Rollston 


One Comments to “Legal Tablet from Hazor”

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