Biblical law forms a complete set of personal and social rules which hold answers to all modern inequities.
Ancient laws are based on personal relationships. Impersonal things like the state, the corporation, or the village could not be victims of crimes. Only persons could, including the persons of the gods. Our villages have become more dense, and our society has become more complex, but people are still people, subject to the same personal injuries as in times past.
The ancient laws provide simple solutions for simple societies. Modern laws provide complex solutions for complex societies. Our laws have grown in proportion to the human resources that have been devoted to law. This does not necessarily increase justice or reduce inequity. It merely creates a ruling class of those who write laws, those who interpret laws, and those who argue about what those laws mean. The more laws there are, the more jobs are available in this class.
People fear what they don’t know, and little is more unknown than the workings of ancient laws. We are all more comfortable in the cultures we are raised in. Moving to another state or even another country with different rules can be traumatic. So we need a good reason to begin to contemplate the laws of antiquity. Note that to the ancients, their law was “the law” and people found their happiness within the existing social structures, just as people do today.
A key motivation for an analysis of ancient laws is simplicity. A few rules were enough to serve the ancients. In modern society, as always, ignorance of the law is not an excuse. But we are all ignorant insofar as the libraries are full to the brim of analyses and explanations of our laws. Some object that the laws of ancient societies prescribed death as punishment for crimes that aren’t even considered crimes today. But conversely, our laws prescribe life imprisonment for many offenses which were not considered crimes thousands of years ago. We are used to the particular severity of modern law, but not that of ancient law. We prefer familiarity.
Also, many focus on the things that the ancients prohibited, while not noticing the great amount of personal freedom that comes from having a paucity of laws. Taking the Bible as an example, there are two possible approaches. One is that whatever the Bible doesn’t expressly allow, must be forbidden. The other is that whatever the Bible doesn’t expressly forbid, must be allowed. The first approach leads to oppression. The second approach leads to freedom.
The analysis on this website will focus on Biblical law for the following reasons. Biblical religion has survived in some form where many ancient religions of the region did not. Three current major world religions accept the authenticity, if not the authority, of Biblical law. The Biblical laws were made by a deity, whereas most ancient law sets were admittedly man-made. And it is my position that the Biblical law holds solutions to all social problems.