Common law. El pensamiento político y jurídico de Sir Edward Coke (Spanish Edition)
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It is, therefore, to the underlying principles of the Hebrew social philosophy, other than to the details of Mosaic legislation, that this little work is designed to call attention.
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Some of them would have readily admitted this: would, indeed, have gloried in it. But, ancient as these principles are, the most characteristic of modern problems — problems of poverty amid increasing wealth, of housing, of unemployment — are compelling the attention of social reformers, more and more, to them. For, what we call the Land Question remains essentially the same under everchanging forms of social organisation. THE general principles upon which the Hebrew Land Laws were based are absolutely fatal to the idea of private property in land.
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The keynote is struck in the very first sentence of the Pentateuch. For He hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. It is the will of God that man should satisfy his bodily needs by the exercise of his labor upon the material which He has so abundantly provided. And God blesses them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
But Adam was not the owner of the Garden of Eden; he only had the use of it, upon conditions. It is not the right of property in land, but the right to use land — limited by the equal right of every one else, now and for ever, to use land — that God has given to man. It is only the interest of the race that is perpetual.
The mode of their expression is of course, always colored by the Theocratic perceptions of the Hebrew Commonwealth. But when our own great legal and constitutional authorities tell us. The Deuteronomic edition of the Law does, in fact, prescribe a ritual for the offering of the first-fruits, in which this view is clearly and beautifully implied. For, in the youth of the world, when the relation of man to the earth on which he lived was still simple and natural, was easier than it is now for men to see the truth about the Land Question steadily, and to see it whole.
THE Hebrew history tells us that the Law was promulgated in the wilderness at a time when the Israelites had as yet no land of their own to dwell in. Moses was dead, having only seen the promised land from afar, from Mount Nebo. Then followed a ruthless war of extermination against the peoples in possession. With a view to striking terror into their foes, Joshua took and burnt Jericho, utterly exterminating its inhabitants, and placing the rebuilding of the city under a ban. The Hebrew view of the war of conquest is well expre ssed by one of the later writers—.
Not only the sacrifice of children, but also the degradation of both men and women, seem to have been inseparable from the obscene ritual with which the local Baals were worshipped. There was no remedy for it but the extermination of all its professors. The Israelites conceived themselves as the instruments chosen and used by Jehovah to this end.
The Formation and Transmission of Western Legal Culture
The heathen — the Canaanite nations especially — are punished not for false belief, but for vile actions. But behind the mission, there always lurked the question, Quis custodict ipsos custodes? It is one of the most insistent notes in Jewish literature. If Israel polluted the land as his predecessors had done, his fate would be as theirs. There is, indeed, at bottom, but little distinction, at least in Christian theology, between these two deadly sins. The method, too, was strongly influenced by two great Hebrew conceptions: that of the family 87 as the unit of the Nation; and that of the Nation itself as a larger family — the children of Abraham — closely bound together by a common descent and a common religion.
They were almost entirely an agricultural and pastoral people; a republic of farmers and shepherds. There was no strong central government. Even in the first century of the Christian era, Josephus gives this fact as the reason why the Hebrews were less known to the Greeks than were the Phoenicians and the Egyptians. Internal trade also appears to have been carried on mainly by the aborigines. Uzziah, among the later kings, was distinguished by his love of husbandry. Ewald conjectures that Maktesh in Zeph.
In Prov. The merchants in Jerusalem after the return from captivity were Tyrians Neh. In earlier times, we read of caravans of Ishmaelites or Midianites trading in spices and slaves Gen. What the Israelites required, therefore, in order to embody in practice the general principle that God had given them equal rights to the use of the earth, was that the Law should secure them the right of equal access to the land of Canaan for the purpose of exercising their labor upon it. The land belonged in usufruct subject to the sovereign rights of the unseen King to the whole Nation; every family in the Commonwealth had equal rights in it.
The natural and easy way for giving effect to those equal rights, under the circumstances of their time and place, was by an equal division of the land itself among all the families of Israel. The process by which the division was to be carried out was prescribed beforehand by Moses. A census of the people, by tribes and families, was taken in the plains of Moab on the south-eastern border of the promised land.
It consisted of one representative from each tribe under the presidency of Joshua ben Nun and Eleazar the Priest.
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So they made an end of dividing the country. Josephus tells us that the land was not divided into equal areas, but according to its value for agricultural purposes; though whether he was preserving an ancient tradition or merely putting a probable gloss upon the existing record is not easy to determine. However, the passage is worth transcribing —.