A Comparison Of Babylonian And Chinese Conceptions

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A Comparison Of Babylonian And Chinese Conceptions Of Law Essay, Research Paper A Comparison of Babylonian and Chinese Conceptions Of Law The system of laws as we know it today is based upon justice, fairness and morality. The principals that dictate these aspects are molded over many years of social progress. We lived and learned from past mistakes that span thousands of years. It is our long history and our study of it that form the basis of our legal system today. The most basic necessity for law is to maintain order, the most fundamental requisite for society to exist. And this can be seen in even the earliest civilizations to settle the earth. And it is within these early civilizations that we find the fundamental principals that molded our legal system today. But

whether these early laws were fair or moral for all individuals in society can be questioned by today s standards. One early civilization to exhibit a developed legal system as seen in recorded history is the Babylonians. The passages presented in the Law Code the Babylonian king Hammurabi shows that the basic ideas of justice and requirements for social order were already in place. The Babylonians viewed their ruler Hammurabi as a wise and virtuous endowed with the support of the gods. And under no circumstances were the laws that he passed down to be questioned. Hammurabi s code was infallible in all respects at the time. Of course Hammurabi s laws undoubtedly maintained peace and order but the question of whether it was moral and just is another matter. Hammurabi is said to

have received the laws from a divine source, When the lofty Anu, king of the Anunnaki, and Bel, lord of heaven and earth, he who determines the destiny of the lan, committed the rule of all mankind to Marduk chief son of Ea When Marduk sent me (Hammurabi) to rule the people and bring help to the country, I established law and justice in the land and promoted the welfare of the people. Though it is believed so, analysis of the laws contained within Hammurabi s code reveals that its is composed by a man, and a man with a very primitive sense of justice. And this early concept of justice relied heavily upon the idea of an eye for an eye literally. For example If a physician operates on a man for a severe wound with a bronze lancet and causes the man s death . They shall cut his

fingers off. It would be an understatement to say that this was maybe a little harsh by today s standards. Though in ideal this would cause the physician to no doubt attempt his best to cure the wounded, should his talents fall short is it truly justice to destroy the physician? This causes moral implications to arise such as the degree of punishment various crimes deserve and even, in the case with the physician, a crime at all. A fundamental concept of law is that should it be broken, then punishment must be imposed on the wrong doer. Yet upon analysis of Hammurabi s code, we can see that most of the laws written or narrow and encompass very simple day to day situations. It obvious that it is more a historic account of past occurrences and the resulting verdict there of. In no

way would this system be able to handle the demands of a larger more evolved society nor was there reason behind the validity of this verdict. Punishment for even the smallest crimes can be strangely severe and sometimes even cruel, such as the one dealing with the physician. And even the idea of what is crime is blurred simply for the sake of getting even and appeasing the victim. Babylonian law relies too heavily upon what is fair but not necessarily what is just and moral. The Babylonian system of laws seem obsessed with the idea of getting even an eye for an eye . If a man destroys the eye of another man, they shall destroy his eye. Plain and simply said, though however barbaric by today s standards, it is still a basic human impulse. We can still see its influence in today s