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On Humanity, Chapter 11

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Chapter Summary

The fullest version of the fallow law is given in Lev 25:2-7, which expands on an earlier statute preserved in Exod 23:10-11. In reality, of course, various social and economic pressures often forced landowners to resort to selling off property. In order to prevent excessive private indebtedness, as well as the excessive concentration of private wealth in a small number of hands, ancient kings would issue a proclamation of "release," either shortly after their ascension or in times of economic crisis (cf. Neh 5:1-13). In the biblical ambit, the sabbatical year has the effect of returning the land to its original state, to its condition on the sabbath of to the wild (nature) from which it was claimed. The examination of the jubilee in Spec. 2.110-121 follows immediately upon that of the sabbath in 2.56-109.

Keywords:biblical ambit; economic crisis; fallow law; sabbath

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