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Philosophy before the GreeksThe Pursuit of Truth in Ancient Babylonia$
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Marc Van De Mieroop

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157184

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157184.001.0001

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The Philosopher-King

The Philosopher-King

(p.156) Chapter 7 The Philosopher-King
Philosophy before the Greeks

Marc Van De Mieroop

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how the entire text of the Babylonian law code was reworked under each king who commissioned them. The overall character of the law codes and the manner of formulation remained the same, but the authors felt free to change the order and selection of paragraphs. At the core of all the codes is a list. What we call paragraphs are statements phrased in a limited number of formats and strung together just like the entries of the lexical and omen lists. The chapter offers a structural analysis of the codes that looks at each entry as a syntagm and at the sequence of entries as a paradigm. It shows that the royal proclamations of laws guaranteed that there was a coherent system of justice in place, and even more, that it was grounded in wisdom.

Keywords:   law codes, structural analysis, syntagm, paradigm, laws, justice, wisdom, Babylonia

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