The Messages of Israel’s Lawgivers gives, in concise form, the origin, growth, date, and authorship of the different laws and groups of laws found in the Pentateuch. The laws, chronologically arranged, furnish a complete epitome of the growth of Israel’s moral standards. In the system of codification that Kent adopts, kindred laws have first been grouped together under seven main headings, and then, in order to bring out the historical development of each institution, those in each group or sub-group have been arranged in chronological order under the three general headings: “Primitive,” “Deuteronomic,” and “Priestly Codes.” Kent has divided the seven main sections of law under:
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Charles Foster Kent (1867–1925) was born in Palmyra, New York, and educated at Yale, Yale Divinity School, and the University of Berlin. After working as an instructor at the University of Chicago and a professor of biblical literature and history at Brown University, he became Woolsey Professor of Biblical Literature at Yale University in 1901. He was a prolific author and editor, and his works include The Wise Men of Ancient Israel and Their Proverbs, Origin and Permanent Value of the Old Testament, Israel’s Laws and Legal Precedents, and Israel’s Historical and Biographical Narratives.