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Maimonides the UniversalistThe Ethical Horizons of the Mishneh Torah$
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Menachem Kellner and David Gillis

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764555

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764555.001.0001

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Civil Laws

Civil Laws

God of Aristotle in the God of Abraham

(p.267) Chapter Thirteen Civil Laws
Maimonides the Universalist
Menachem Kellner, David Gillis
Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the thirteenth book of the Mishneh torah, the Book of Civil Laws (Sefer mishpatim), which is the third of the four-book division dealing explicitly with laws regulating social behaviour. It points out that the Book of Civil Laws opens with a quotation from Genesis 21:33 and a citation from Psalms to indicate that the book is about justice. It also mentions the wide variety of civil laws in the Book of Civil Laws, which is divided into five sections: Laws of Hiring, Laws of Borrowing and Depositing, Laws of Creditor and Debtor, Laws of Pleading, and Laws of Inheritance. The chapter analyzes the last chapter of the Book of Civil Laws that deals with the court-appointed guardian for individuals orphaned as minors. It attempts to detect a moral–ethical point in what otherwise might be taken as a series of technical laws about inheritance.

Keywords:   Mishneh torah, Book of Civil Laws, Sefer mishpatim, civil laws, moral–ethical point

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