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Motive Clauses in Hebrew Law: Biblical Forms & Near Eastern Parallels
Rifat Sonsino
Publication Date
March 2005


“In this 1975 University of Pennsylvania doctoral dissertation, Sonsino applies form-critical methodology to an examination of Old Testament and Mesopotamian legal corpus motive clauses. Sonsino begins the study by providing a summary formal classification of biblical and cuneiform law. … The primary contributions of this book are found in the second chapter, entitled ‘Motive Clauses in Biblical Law.… The various Old Testament law collections (Decalogue, Book of the Covenant, Cultic Decalogue, Holiness Code, Deuteronomic Code, Priestly Code) are analyzed individually. For each collection Sonsino determines the percentage of motivated to unmotivated laws and of the motivated laws, what type of syntactic dependence or motive introductions are used. … Sonsino has produced a useful study and should be commended. His tight analysis clarifies in particular the syntactic relationship of the motive to the law and the scope of biblical law code motivations compared with cuneiform law codes.”
— Barry L. Bandstra, Journal of Biblical Literature