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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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Natural Law in Rabbinic Sources?

Natural Law in Rabbinic Sources?

Chapter:
(p.328) Chapter 8 Natural Law in Rabbinic Sources?
Source:
What's Divine about Divine Law?
Author(s):

Christine Hayes

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691165196.003.0012

The first part of this chapter considers rabbinic sources against the backdrop of Second Temple Jewish and early Christian sources on the following question: was there a law before the Mosaic Law revealed at Sinai? If not, is the pre-Sinai period viewed positively or negatively? In other words, was the period before Sinai a law-free golden age that came to an end with the giving of the Law, or was it a lawless dark age redeemed by the giving of the Law? The second part considers the specific case of the Noahide laws, which have been touted by some scholars as a rabbinic version of natural law or, at least, as a resource for the construction of a natural law view. Does the rabbinic conception of Noahide law match classical definitions of natural law and function in the same manner as natural law as understood in antiquity?

Keywords:   divine law, Second Temple Jewish, rabbinic texts, Mosaic Law, Sinai, Noahide laws

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