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Murder

Do Biblical Laws Reflect a Tribal Society?

Was Israel ever a tribal society? Although some scholars accept the Bible’s depiction of Israel’s pre-monarchic society as a confederation of tribes, others have dismissed this as ahistorical. Can a study of biblical law help us resolve this question?

Prof.

Rami Arav

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How Exodus Revises the Laws of Hammurabi

A close look at the laws of assault recorded in Exodus’ Covenant Collection demonstrates that the author knew the Laws of Hammurabi and revised them to fit with Israelite legal and ethical conceptions.

Prof.

David P. Wright

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A Tribute to the Blasphemer's Mother: Shelomit, Daughter of Divri

A struggling ex-slave and single mother labors against all odds to raise her son and shield him from the prejudices of the surrounding community.

Prof.

Wendy Zierler

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Pinchas’ Extrajudicial Execution of Zimri and Cozbi

Pinchas is portrayed as a hero in the Torah and Second Temple sources for killing Zimri and his Midianite lover, Cozbi. Rabbinic sources struggle with the absence of any juridical process or deliberative body, which contravenes their own judicial norms, and therefore recast or minimize his act in subtle ways.[1]

Dr.

David Bernat

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Meat or Murder? A Vegetarian Start

Dr.

Yitzhaq Feder

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The Evolution of Civilization: The Biblical Story

Reading Cain’s murder of Abel and the account of Cain’s descendants as a metaphor for the trajectory of human development and the change in patterns of human behavior.

Dr. Rabbi

Samuel Z. Glaser

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Breaking the Heifer's Neck: A Bloodless Ritual for an Unsolved Murder

If a corpse is found in a field, and the killer is unknown, Deuteronomy 21 requires the elders of the closest city to break a heifer’s neck by a stream and declare that they did not spill “this blood.” How does this ritual of eglah arufah, “broken-necked heifer,” atone for Israel’s bloodguilt?

Dr.

Yitzhaq Feder

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Does the Torah Differentiate Between Murder and Killing?

What does the root רצח actually mean: to kill or to murder? A look at Rashbam’s attempted (and failed?) solution highlights the ethical ramifications of Bible translation.

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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Eglah Arufah: A Ritual Response to an Unsolved Murder

The law of the eglah arufah (the heifer whose neck is broken) has puzzled both traditional and modern commentators. What is it meant to accomplish? How does it work?

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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