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Antecedents Of The Jubilee Legislation

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the antecedents for the jubilee legislation. The word antecedents" is used to describe this evidence, because the word sources" is too strong: it implies that the Levitical legislator had specific texts in front of him from which he drew. The chapter examines first the ancient Near Eastern antecedents of the jubilee, and second, the biblical antecedents, namely, the slave and fallow-laws of the Covenant Code. The land of Canaan formed a buffer zone between major Near Eastern empires in Egypt, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia. In ancient Akkadian-speaking culture, the concept of andurarum seems to have consisted in freedom from toilsome labor and the leisure to enjoy the pleasures of life. There is a close relationship between the establishment of the kiddinutu of a holy city and the declarations of misharum and andurarum. The principle of the inalienability of patrimonial (inherited) land was widespread in ancient Near Eastern societies.

Keywords: ancient Near Eastern antecedents; Covenant Code; jubilee legislation



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