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Unformatted text preview: Dr. Welch History of Ideas 29 September, 2006 Brief One: Ancient Ideas From several ancient civilizations; such as the Hebrews, Greeks, and Babylonians; ideas about how man is to live come to fruition. Developing their ideas over an extended period of time, essential constructs of man’s society are developed. Ideas that describes how law should be, how government should run, who should rule, and how man should record events are derived from this ancient era. Law was one of the early developments of man. Being a social creature, it is necessary to create a system of rules that a society had to live by. Two different institutions came to be; laws based on morality, and secular based laws. Laws based on morality have their foundation in religion. Close-knit, culturally and ethnically uniform societies benefit most from this type of law. This practice allowed them to bond and work together for the betterment of their civilization. Being based on religion, some moral laws are slightly more forgiving than laws based on justice. In Exodus for example, debtors had a slight advantage: “If you lend money to any of my people that is poor...you shall not deal with him as if you were a usurer, nor shall you lay usury upon him. If you at all take your neighbor's raiment as a pledge, you shall return it to him by the time the sun goes down: for it is his only covering, and the raiment for his skin, and what else would he sleep in? And it shall come to pass, when he cries unto me, that i shall hear' for i am gracious....” This shows the leniency and comradery of a moral law code. Unfortunately, this structure only works for societies that are unvarying; mixed societies clash over moral based codes. This is why secular based laws came to be. Secular based laws separated themselves from religion; secular law says the punishment should suit the crime. Being the next logical step from a moral law code, secular laws allow diverse groups of people to conform to a single based ideology and live together. For example, because of the incredible stressing of close-knit families in moral codes, women’s individual rights are generally ignored. But under secular code, fairness and justice were the overall ideas. Under the secular Hammurabi’s Code, for example, women could even divorce their husbands. “142. If a woman hates her husband and has said “You shall not possess me,” they shall inquire into her record and if she has been economical and has no vice and her husband has gone out and greatly belittled her, that woman has no blame, she will take her marriage portion and go off to her father's house” But which is better? Each system has its flaws, just as each has its high points....
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This note was uploaded on 06/27/2008 for the course HIS 240 taught by Professor Welch during the Fall '06 term at Mt. Wachusett.
- Fall '06