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What's Divine about Divine Law?Early Perspectives$
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Christine Hayes

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691165196

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691165196.001.0001

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(p.92) Introduction
What's Divine about Divine Law?

Christine Hayes

Princeton University Press

In the Hellenistic period, popular and highly eclectic versions of the tenets of the central philosophical schools penetrated the eastern end of the Mediterranean, and Jews living in this area were exposed to the divine law discourses of the classical tradition. Hellenistic philosophical schools of all stripes commonly attributed certain traits to divine natural law. It was held to be universal, rational, unwritten, eternal, and unchanging, and to govern the sage without effort. By contrast, human positive law was held to be particular, grounded in a sovereign will, written, temporary, and flexible. Positive law is superfluous for the sage, who automatically pursues the virtue that he rationally perceives, and deficient for the fool, who rebels against its strictures....

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