Since the beginning of civilization there have been laws or codes of conduct set in place to establish a means of coexistence between groups of people within a geographical area. These codes or laws where mostly set by an individual or group who held the most authoritative power within a society or civilization to do so. But where did these codes of conduct or laws derive from? What was the basis of these laws or codes? Where they specifically based on religious beliefs or were they an idea of ethical standards for which the majority within the society thought to be true?
Three separate laws or codes of conduct from ancient history were reviewed to support the following conclusion. These laws or codes were The Code of Hammurabi , The Covenant and the Law: The Book of Exodus, and The Tweleve Tables. Based on the structure and content from these three sets of laws and codes it can be said that they were formed from the guidance of their societies religious beliefs and also influenced on an idea of ethical behavior.
The Code of Hammurabi
The Codes of Hammurabi were created by Hammurabi, a ruler in the ancient Mesopotamia region, which set a standard of how people in this region would live amongst each other. Hammurabi viewed himself as a peaceful ruler who aimed to guide or lead his people as one. His actions where based on the Mesopotamian beliefs that they were living in a divine region that belonged to more powerful gods and that they should live in coexistence with the land because the powerful gods could take it all away at any given moment. With that said, the codes set by Hammurabi focused on harsh justice for individuals who violated a code. An example would be that if a builder built a house and it collapsed and killed a man then the builder himself would be put to death (p. 10). These codes were also driven by ethical conduct for there was a code and punishment enforced for any married woman who had a sexual relationship with any man other than... [continues]
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