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This chapter examines the history of the talmudic legal tradition. Talmudic law is rooted in the word of God as revealed to Moses, now found in the first five books of the Hebrew Bible (constituting the Pentateuch — Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). These first five books of what the Christian world knows as the Old Testament constitute the Torah.


This book offers a major new means of conceptualizing law and legal relations across the world. National laws are placed in the broader context of major legal traditions, those of chthonic (or indigenous) law, talmudic law, civil law, Islamic law, common law, Hindu law, and Confucian law. Each tradition is examined in terms of its institutions and substantive law, its founding concepts and methods, its attitude towards the concept of change, and its teaching on relations with other traditions and peoples. Legal traditions are explained in terms of multivalent and non-conflictual forms of logic and thought.