This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, which is to explore the rich legal tradition of the Eastern Mediterranean. It assesses the tension between law and religion as two cultural (sub)systems within society that compete for absolute power. It addresses the question of how these two systems exist next to each other in either harmony or conflict, and what strategies are employed in ancient societies to fuse both concepts in a meaningful unity that would govern society. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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