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The study of that part of the Old Testament known as the Torah, or the Law, has usually been regarded as uninviting and unprofitable. The beginnings of the Torah consisted sometimes of single rules, sometimes of more or less related commands designated as statutes, or ordinances, of which the Ten Commandments are a familiar illustration. In time these various regulations were compiled as codes or definitive bodies of laws, and were united together with little regard for chronology or system. The result is confusing and it is little wonder that a systematic study of these laws has been impossible to any but trained Bible students. Few, if any, attempts have been made to render these laws readily accessible by reducing them to proper order both chronological and logical. The purpose of this book is to classify and arrange all the laws which constituted the Torah in accordance with the scheme of classification used in modern law books, whereby each topic or branch of the law is treated separately under appropriate subdivisions, and with all provisions relating to each subject grouped together. In this way the student has before him a complete analysis of the whole body of the Torah, into appropriate classes and divisions, such as the Rights and Privileges of Citizens, Courts and Legal Procedure, Domestic Relations, Laws of Inheritance, Laws Relating to Real Property, Criminal Law with its various branches, Religious Duties and Prohibitions, Humane Laws, and the large field of Ceremonial Law, including the various Feasts, Sacrifices, Law of Clean and Unclean, and Sacred Places and Per
Each of these classes is given a suitable analysis into its minor divisions, and every rule, command or law found in the Old Testament is grouped so as to furnish a complete picture of the law of ancient Israel on the particular subject.
The plan used in law books has also been adopted of stating a proposition or rule of law and following it with the supporting citation or Biblical text.
A constant comparison of the ancient Jewish law with modern statutes and codes will reveal a wonderful similarity in basic principles. The parallels are numerous and striking. A study of these cannot fail to be instructive, and will reveal unlooked-for phases of that living, human story which has persisted in all races and ages of the world's history.
Especial attention is directed to the Topical Index or Digest which is exhaustive of the various branches of the Law and which will furnish an invaluable key to systematic study. The Law thus becomes readily available to the average reader and Sunday school scholar, as well as to theological students. To active ministers the book should prove a work of ready reference which will save much time and research.
It is believed the plan outlined will remove many of the traditional difficulties in the study of Old Testament Law and make such study of intense interest and value.
Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, September, 1922.