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Ethics in Ancient Israel$
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John Barton

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199660438

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660438.001.0001

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Popular Morality, Custom, and Convention

Popular Morality, Custom, and Convention

(p.77) 3 Popular Morality, Custom, and Convention
Ethics in Ancient Israel

John Barton

Oxford University Press

Unlike the classical world, ancient Israel has left little ‘popular’ literature, so reconstructing the moral codes of ordinary people is difficult. Nevertheless it is clear that some moral teachers—notably the prophets—met with resistance to their message, and from this we can form some idea of what was believed by people more generally, at least in some periods. There is some evidence of a conventional morality in Israel that does not derive from official sources, such as the Torah. In certain areas of moral thought, such as the ethics of war, there were conventions widely shared throughout the ancient Near East, and there must have been a popular morality for daily life, which sometimes emerges in biblical narratives.

Keywords:   popular literature, popular morality, custom, convention, Torah

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