Debt slavery in the Ancient Near East and Israel : an examination of the biblical manumission laws in Exod 21:2-6, 7-11; Deut 15:12-18; Lev 25:39-54

Chirichigno, Gregory Conrad (1989) Debt slavery in the Ancient Near East and Israel : an examination of the biblical manumission laws in Exod 21:2-6, 7-11; Deut 15:12-18; Lev 25:39-54. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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This study investigates the biblical manumission laws that occur in Exod 21:2-6, 7-11; Deut 15:12-18; and Lev 25:39-54. It begins with a discussion of the social background to debt-slavery in order to take into account the various socio-economic factors which might have en­couraged the rise of debt-slavery in Mesopotamia (Chapter 1). This study continues with a comparative analysis of those laws, contracts, and edicts which have a particular bearing on the interpretation of the biblical manumission laws, and the Sabbatical and Jubilee year regu­lations which are closely connected with these biblical laws (Chapter 2). The rest of this study examines the social background to debt-slavery in Israel (Chapter 3); the various slave laws in the Pentateuch (Chapter 4) in order to delimit the chattel-slave laws from the debt-slave laws; artd the biblical manumission laws in Exodus (Chapter 5), Deuteronomy (Chapter 6), and Leviticus (Chapter 7). It is argued that the law in Exod 21 :2-6, like the cuneiform law in LH § 11 7, refers to the sale of a Hebrew or Israelite dependent who be­longs to a landed household. While Deut 15: 12-18 contains some im­portant deuteronomic innovations, it is nevertheless concluded that this law did not attempt to make any fundamental changes to the laws in Exod 21:2-6, 7-11. However, it is concluded that the release in Lev 25: 39-54 is entirely different from that envisaged in Exodus and Deuteronomy. While Exodus and Deuteronomy envisage the release of a dependent who was sold by the head of a household to a creditor, Lev 25:39-54 envisages the release of the head of a household (as well as his family) who was forced to sell himself because he could no longer sup­port his family. That Lev 25:39-54 envisaged a much more serious form of insolvency is reflected both in its fiftieth year release, during which land belonging to the debtor was released, and in its form of service, both of which are clearly different from the release and service envis­aged in Exodus and Deuteronomy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Additional Information: PhD awarded by Council for National Academic Awards. Sponsoring establishment The College of St. Paul & St. Mary which later became the University of Gloucestershire. Collaborating establishment Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bible studies; Exodus; Deuteronomy; Leviticus; biblical manumission laws; debt slavery
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creatives
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2023 14:58
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:57

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