772.01 Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Law

This course will offer an extended exploration of the earliest legal materials known to human history (beginning with the Laws of Ur-Namma) and, arguably, the ancient world’s most important legal materials for the history of law in the Western tradition—namely, the Bible. The course thus provides students with wide exposure to the history of law, indeed its very roots (at least for the Western intellectual tradition), while at the same time affording access to the long and complicated interrelationships of law and religion that are evident already in the ancient world and that continue to the present day, not least (for example) in debates over the Ten Commandments. In these ways, the course should prove helpful and informative, not only in terms of legal history and development, but also in moving toward a better understanding of at least some of the dynamics surrounding religious law and/or religious groups’ and individual adherents’ relationship(s) to law.  Students will be evaluated on class participation, including tracking and presenting on a legal topic (e.g., status, property, family, intention, homicide, etc.) across the semester, and either a series of shorter papers or a longer research paper to satisfy the SRWP.

Spring 2024

Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor
Course Credits
Research paper option, 25+ pages
Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
Oral presentation
Class participation
Brent Strawn
Sakai site: https://sakai.duke.edu/portal/site/LAW-772-01-Sp24
Email list: LAW-772-01-Sp24@sakai.duke.edu
Degree Requirements
Course Requirements - JD
Course Requirements - LLM
Course Requirements - LLM-ICL
Course Areas of Practice
Course Areas of Practice