Mosaic Law and American Jurisprudence

torah.jpgAmerica’s civil and criminal justice systems are grounded on the Mosaic Code. The Law, contained in the Torah’s Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, pre-dates Roman laws and is the first to incorporate humanism and the democratic spirit into a written Judicial code. Four centuries before Christ, the Jews devised a legal system based on the dignity of man and individual equality before the law. Individuals accused of crimes were considered innocent until proven guilty, had the right to confront their accusers, were allowed to testify in their own behalf, were not subject to double jeopardy, and could appeal convictions.

A thorough and interesting book containing observations on this subject and many more about Jewish history is Max Dimont’s Jews, God & History. Reproduced here are some of Mr. Dimont’s insightful observations on the subject of this blog:

  • “The Torah was a bold leap into the future, a giant stride ahead of anything existing at that time. Its concept of equality before the law, a law based on the written code, seems to be a Semitic innovation.”
  • “The Mosaic Code … was the first truly judicial, written code, and eclipsed previously known laws with its all-encompassing humanism, its passion for justice, its love of democracy.”
  • “These laws were essentially divided into three categories: those dealing with man’s relation to man, those dealing with man’s relation to the state, and those dealing with man’s relation to God.”
  • “The Mosaic Code laid down the first principles for a separation of church and state…. In the Mosaic Code the civil authority was independent of the priesthood…. The priesthood was charged with the responsibility of keeping the government within the framework of Mosaic law, just as the United States Supreme Court is not above the federal government but is, nevertheless, charged with the responsibility of keeping it within the framework of the Constitution. Moses also laid the foundation for another separation, which has since become indispensable to any democracy. He created an independent judiciary.”
  • “There is a curious resemblence between the philosophic outlook of American constitutional law and that of Mosaic law. The federal government has only the powers granted to it by the Constitution. The individual states can do anything not specifically denied to them. In essence, the Mosaic law also established the principle that the Jews could do anything not specifically denied to them. Instead of saying, ‘”Do such and such a thing,”‘ the laws of Moses usually say, ‘”Don’t do this or that.”‘ Even where the Mosaic law makes a positive statement, it is often either an amendment to a negative commandment or else hemmed in by a negative admonition, saying, in effect, ‘”When you do this, then don’t do that.”‘ The Ten Commandments, for instance, list only three do’s but seven don’ts. The three positive Commandments are: ‘”I am the Lord thy God”‘; observe the Sabbath; and honor your parents. The seven don’ts leave little doubt as to what one is not supposed to do. By fencing in only the negative, Moses left an open field for positive action. This allowed the Jews great flexibility. As long as they did not do anything specifically prohibited, they could, like the individual American states, do anything they wanted to do.”


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Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.

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