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Ancient Legal Thought
Equity, Justice, and Humaneness From Hammurabi and the Pharaohs to Justinian and the Talmud

$116.00 USD

  • Author: Larry May, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee
  • Date Published: May 2019
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781108601214

$ 116.00 USD
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About the Authors
  • This is a study of what constituted legality and the role of law in ancient societies. Investigating and comparing legal codes and legal thinking of the ancient societies of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, India, the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire and of the ancient Rabbis, this volume examines how people used law to create stable societies. Starting with Hammurabi's Code, this volume also analyzes the law of the pharaohs and the codes of the ancient rabbis and of the Roman Emperor Justinian. Focusing on the key concepts of justice equity and humaneness, the status of women and slaves, and the idea of criminality and of war and peace; no other book attempts to examine such diverse legal systems and legal thinking from the ancient world.

    • Covers Mesopotamia and Egypt as well as Greece, China, India, and Rabbinic tradition as well as the Roman Republic and Roman Empire
    • Compares legal systems and theories from the various societies of the ancient world
    • Compares ancient legal thought in similar historical periods, often contrasting Western and Eastern legal thought
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Larry May's monumental achievement, astonishing in scope, depth, and insight, offers a rich historical mosaic of understandings of law, justice and equity and their interrelationships. It is essential reading for any legal or political philosopher and invaluable for any serious student of law and justice. May writes with a historian's keen eye for detail and context and a philosopher's eye for conceptual nuance, networks of concepts, and intersecting lines of argument.' Gerald J. Postema, Cary C. Boshamer Professor of Philosophy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    'In this magisterial book, Professor May manages to combine sweeping coverage with fascinating details about ancient legal thought on justice, equity, fairness, mercy, and principles of morality and right embodied within law. He makes a convincing case that legitimacy has long been fundamental to legal authority.' Brian Z. Tamanaha, John S. Lehmann University Professor, Washington University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2019
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781108601214
    • contains: 2 maps
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Mesopotamia and Egypt: Section 1. Ancient Procedural Law:
    1. Ancient legal reasoning
    2. Judging, trials, and assemblies
    3. Oaths, ordeals, and truth
    Section 2. Freedom, Equality, and Legal Status:
    4. Debt forgiveness and equity
    5. Freedom and slavery
    6. Class, legal status, and equality
    7. Women's separate sphere
    Section 3. Crime and Punishment:
    8. Complicity and conspiracy
    9. Crime and Lex Talionis
    10. Capital punishment
    Section 4. International Justice:
    11. Ancient treaties and trust
    12. Aggressive war and necessity
    Part II. Greece and China: Section 5. Law, Justice and Equity:
    13. Custom and law in Ancient Greece and China
    14. Justice and equity
    15. Trial, juries, and democratic assemblies
    Section 6. Legal Status:
    16. Citizens and aliens
    17. Women
    18. Slavery and democracy
    Section 7. Responsibility and Punishment:
    19. Causation and responsibility
    20. Homicide and pollution
    21. Justification, excuse, and mitigation
    22. Hubris and impiety
    Section 8. War and Amnesty:
    23. Amnesty, sanctuary, and exile
    24. Justified war and the law of nations
    Part III. India and the Roman Republic: Section 9. Law, Justice and Equity:
    25. Law and its sources in Ancient Roman and Indian law
    26. Legal procedures and trials
    27. Equity and justice
    Section 10. Legal Status and Social Class:
    28. Legal status of women
    29. Social class and slavery
    Section 11. Responsibility and Punishment:
    30. Political and moral crimes
    31. Punishment, cruelty, and humaneness
    32. Crimes concerning legal and political abuse
    Section 12. War and Treaties:
    33. Treaties, hostages, and keeping faith
    34. The rules of war and the law of peoples
    Part IV. Rabbinic Law and the Roman Empire: Section 13. Justice, Equity, and Conflict of Laws:
    35. Law, morality, and religion
    36. Dual legal regimes
    37. The law and ancient legal scholars
    Section 14. Differential Status:
    38. Women in Jewish and Roman thought
    39. Slaves in Jewish and Roman legal thought
    Section 15. Responsibility:
    40. Intention and causation in criminal law
    41. Injury and murder
    42. Public punishment, penal prisons, and police
    Section 16. Universal Law at the End of Ancient Times:
    43. Universal law and human rights
    44. The origins of the just war doctrine
    45. Final thoughts on equity, justice, and humaneness.

  • Author

    Larry May, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee
    Larry May is Professor of Philosophy and Law, Emeritus at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee. He has published thirty-seven books, including Limiting Leviathan: Hobbes on Law and International Affairs (2013), Proportionality in International Law, with Michael Newton, (2014), Contingent Pacifism (Cambridge, 2015), Necessity in International Law, with Jens Ohlin (2016), International Criminal Tribunals, with Shannon Fyfe (Cambridge, 2017), and is editor of The Cambridge Handbook of the Just War (Cambridge, 2017). His books have won awards in law, philosophy, and political science and he has advised the US State Department, the CIA, the NIH, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

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