I have multiple sources regarding the code of Hammurabi/Hammurapi and they have two conflicting dates of origin. Some give a date of compilation at near 1795-1750 B.C and some date it at 2250 B.C. Various internet sites have used both dates.

Which dating is more accurate? Looking at my sources it would seem an 18th century B.C. dating reflects current scholarship.

My older sources list a 2250 date. But the Avalon Project has an introduction from 1915 which lists a 1795-1750 date. (McKelvie's Megaphone History and Law 1920, and Duncan, George S. "The Code of Moses and the Code of Hammurabi. 1904")

My newer sources list a date 1792-1750. (Coogan, Michael David. A Reader of Ancient Near Eastern Texts: Sources for the Study of the Old Testament. New York: Oxford UP, 2013. Print. and Roth, Martha Tobi., Harry A. Hoffner, and Piotr Michalowski. Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor. Atlanta, GA: Scholars, 1997. Print.)

  • Can you give one example source for each date? I did a quick net search, and could only find a reference to one of them. – T.E.D. Sep 22 '15 at 15:06
  • 3
    The 2250 BC date is a very outdated estimate. Present academic consensus does not put Hammurabi's lifetime any earlier than 2100 BC, ruling out the 2250 date completely. The dominant view is that Hammurabi's reign began in 1792 BC and the Code of Hammurabi compiled circa 1750 BC. – Semaphore Sep 22 '15 at 15:08
  • 1
    If you don't list the sources, there is absolutely no way we can tell you which one is more accurate. That's like asking, "I am thinking of a number; what is the prime factorization?" If you provide details, I'll reverse my downvote, but as this stands it isn't even pub trivia. – Mark C. Wallace Sep 22 '15 at 17:40
  • 2
    I want to go to that pub. – Tyler Durden Sep 22 '15 at 17:50

There are various chronologies floating around for Hammurabi's reign. So that will naturally produce some variation. Wikipedia seems to currently be favoring the middle one, which would indeed put the code at about 1750 BC.

However, none of their listed chronologies vary by that much. Even their "Ultra Long" only backs him up to about 1900 BC.

One thing I did find is that there's a dating for a previous code, the Code of Ur-Nammu (the oldest known law code), that is dated to 2050 BC. Perhaps your higher source was confusing their codes?

Another possibility, as Semaphore mentioned in the comments, is that your ultra-ultra-long source is/was using a chronology that is far beyond what is currently deemed feasible. Tough to say for sure, without knowing the source.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.