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Law: Comparing Hammurabi’s Code, the Old Testament, Confucian Principles

Law: Comparing Hammurabi’s Code, the Old Testament, Confucian Principles
Law: Comparing Hammurabi’s Code, the Old Testament, Confucian Principles
Law: Comparing Hammurabi’s Code, the Old Testament, Confucian Principles
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Law:
Comparing Hammurabi’s Code, the Old Testament, Confucian Principles

Development of Law:
Comparing Hammurabi’s Code, the Old Testament, Confucian Principles

Background:
Laws are a complex institution of civilizations. They are designed to do many things—settle conflicts between individuals, provide citizens with guidance on proper behavior, and outline an individual’s relationship with the government. Thus, laws are important for building stable civilizations.


Document A: Hammurabi’s Code
Hammurabi’s Code If a son has struck his father, they shall cut off his hand.
If a [noble] has destroyed the eye of a [noble], they shall destroy his eye.

If he has broken another [noble’s] bone, they shall break his bone.

If he has destroyed the eye of a commoner or broken the bone of a commoner, he shall pay one mina of silver.

If he has destroyed the eye of a [noble’s] slave or broken the bone of a [noble’s] slave, he shall pay one-half [the slave’s] value.
If a [noble] has knocked out the tooth of a [noble], they shall knock out his tooth. If he has knocked out a commoner’s tooth, he shall pay one-third mina of silver.

QUESTION:
1. Is the Code applied equally to all people? Explain your answer.






Document B: the Old Testament

Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death. But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint for you a place to which he may flee. . . .
Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death. . . .
Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death.

When men quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist and the man does not die but keeps his bed, then if the man rises again and walks abroad with his staff, he that struck him shall be clear; only he shall pay for the loss of his time. . . .
When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. . . .
When a man strikes the eye of his slave, male or female, and destroys it, he shall let the slave go free for the eye’s sake. If he knocks out the tooth of his slave, male or female, he shall let the slave go free for the tooth’s sake.

QUESTION:
1. What principle underlies these laws? How would you describe the punishments in these laws?


Document C: Confucius
The Master said, “A young man’s duty is to behave well to his parents at home and to his elders abroad, to be cautious in giving promises and punctual in keeping them, to have kindly feelings towards everyone, but seek the intimacy of the Good.”
The Master said, “Govern the people by regulations, keep order among them by chastisements, and they will flee from you, and lose all self-respect. Govern them by moral force, keep order among them by ritual, and they will keep their self-respect and come to you of their own accord.”
QUESTION:
1. What behavior does Confucius expect of ordinary people and of rulers?

Compare and Contrast:
1. How is the treatment of slaves in Hammurabi’s Code and the Old Testament laws similar?

2. How is it different?

3. For which of the civilizations on the chart do you think laws were most important? Why?

Total Pages
2 pages
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