Ancient Laws and Modern Problems: The Balance Between Justice and a Legal System

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Intellect Books, 2005 - History - 220 pages
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John Sassoon’s study of the written laws of four thousand years ago puts paid to the belief that the most ancient laws were merely arbitrary and tyrannical. On the contrary, the earliest legal systems honestly tried to get to the truth, do justice to individuals, and preserve civil order. They used the death penalty surprisingly seldom, and then more because society had been threatened than an individual killed.
Some of the surviving law codes are originals, others near-contemporary copies. Together they preserve a partial but vivid picture of life in the early cites. This occupies more than half the book.
Comparison of ancient with modern principles occupies the remainder and is bound to be controversial; but it is important as well as fascinating. The first act of writing laws diminished the discretion of the judges and foretold a limit on individual justice. Some political principles such as uniformity of treatment or individual freedom have, when carried to extremes, produced crises in modern legal systems world wide.
But it is tempting but wrong to blame the judges or the lawyers for doing what society require of them.
 

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Contents

Introduction
7
Acknowledgements
11
EMERGENCE FROM PREHISTORY
13
THE LAW CODES
29
THE BURDEN OF PROOF
40
THE CONCEPT OF PROPERTY
55
THE FAMILY AS PROPERTY
65
CHILDREN
81
RAPE AND THE FAMILY
101
WOMEN ACCORDING TO THE LAWS
109
CRUELTY UNDER THE LAW
121
THE HAMMURABI MYSTERY
143
LAW IN THE ANCIENT WORLD
168
List of References
209
Bibliography
211
Index
213

ADOPTION
93

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