This volume illuminates the Laws of Hammurabi in its own time and its legacy for later Mesopotamia and for cultures outside of Mesopotamia. The Laws of Hammurabi provides insight into human intellectual achievements and rationality in general and into the interplay between legal activity, jurisprudence, and political circumstances in Mesopotamia specifically. Although the scribe lived in a culture that did not have jurisprudential or philosophical writing about law, the statutes he composed manifest a significant instance of legal reasoning before the flowering of Roman law. The methods of composition he employed allow us to see early modes of legal thinking. Law as a theoretical problem was emerging in the Laws of Hammurabi. It attests to the richness and complexity of legal thinking before Roman law. It demonstrates the vitality of legal thinking, and its existence prompts a more complex story of legal development and imagination.
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