The Hebrew Bible also played a central role in the founding of various educational institutions including Harvard, Yale, William and Mary, Rutgers, Princeton, Brown, Kings College (later to be known as Columbia), Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth etc.Many of these colleges even adopted some Hebrew word or phrase as part of their official emblem or seal.Beneath the banner containing the Latin "Lux et Veritas," the Yale seal shows an open book with the Hebrew "Urim V'Timum," which was a part of the breastplate of the High Priest in the days of the Temple.
these émigré Puritans dramatized their own situation as the righteous remnant of the Church corrupted by the 'Babylonian woe,' and saw themselves as instruments of Divine Providence, a people chosen to build their new commonwealth on the Covenant entered into at Mount Sinai." Previously, during the Puritan Revolution in England, (1642-1648) some Puritan extremists had even sought to replace English common law with Biblical laws of the Old Testament, but were prevented from doing so.
In America, however, there was far more freedom to experiment with the use of Biblical law in the legal codes of the colonies and this was exactly what these early colonists set out to do.
The earliest legislation of the colonies of New England was all determined by Scripture.
At the first assembly of New Haven in 1639, John Davenport clearly stated the primacy of the Bible as the legal and moral foundation of the colony: "Scriptures do hold forth a perfect rule for the direction and government of all men in all duties which they are to perform to God and men as well as in the government of families and commonwealth as in matters of the Church...
the Word of God shall be the only rule to be attended unto in organizing the affairs of government in this plantation." (1) Subsequently, the New Haven legislators adopted a legal code ― the Code of 1655 ― which contained some 79 statutes, half of which contained Biblical references, virtually all from the Hebrew Bible.
The Plymouth Colony had a similar law code as did the Massachusetts assembly, which, in 1641 adopted the so-called "Capitall Laws of New England" based almost entirely on Mosaic law.Of course, without a Jewish Oral Tradition, which helped the Jews understand the Bible, the Puritans were left to their own devices and tended toward a literal interpretation.This led in some instances to a stricter, more fundamentalist observance than Judaism had ever seen.The creation of the United States of America represented a unique event in world history – founded as a modern republic, it was rooted in the Bible, and one of its earliest tenets was religious tolerance.This is because many of the earliest pilgrims who settled the "New England" of America in early 17th century were Puritan refugees escaping religious persecutions in Europe.These Puritans viewed their emigration from England as a virtual re-enactment of the Jewish exodus from Egypt.