lex talionis


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lex talionis

the law of retribution in kind: ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’.

LEX TALIONIS. The law of retaliation an example of which is given in the law of Moses, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, &c.
     2. Jurists and writers on international law are divided as to the right of one nation punishing with death, by way of retaliation, the citizen's or subjects of another nation; in, the United States no example of such barbarity has ever been witnessed but, prisoners have been kept in close confinement in retaliation for the same conduct towards American prisoners. Vide Rutherf. Inst. b. 2, c. 9; Mart. Law of Nat. b. 8, c. 1, s. 3, note 1 Kent, Com. 93.
     3. Writers on the law of nations have divided retaliation into vindictive and amicable: By the former are meant those acts of retaliation which amount to a war; the latter those acts of retaliation which correspond to the acts of the other nation under similar circumstances. Wheat. Intern. Law, pt. 4, c. 1, Sec. 1.

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Is not the lex talionis the stuff of primitive societies obsessed with honor and vengeance and thus unpromising for developing a compelling social theory?
This same legal principle appears again at Deuteronomy 19:15-21, a section of laws concerning trial procedure in which the lex talionis sanctions penalties against witnesses.
An additional point to consider is that this seems an unusual case, and as such an odd place to state so fundamental a rule as Lex Talionis.
Simply put, the relationship between the crime committed and the punishment imposed can never be clearly determined, even if one applies a strict principle of lex talionis.
So committed is he to this holistic vision that he includes aspects of the lex talionis and the Anselmian atonement theory--both of which prioritize retribution--in his discussion of the theological and political aspects of reconciliation.
Retributive justice is known as lex talionis in the European legal tradition.
The lex talionis (law of retribution) of Exodus 21 restrains our passion for vengeance by instructing the Hebrews to take only one eye for an eye, instead of the sevenfold slaughter expected by tribal vengeance.
Lex talionis - the law of "measure for measure" - was the cornerstone of ancient legal systems, and the idea that punishment should be proportional to the severity of the crime remains a guiding principle of this nation's legal system.
Because however genuine the desire for vengeance may be, the primitive justice of lex talionis (the law of retaliation) would ultimately demean us all.
It is impossible to build a systematic schedule of punishments for crimes by relying on some version of lex talionis, "a life for a life.
Taken literally, lex talionis is an absurd doctrine--no one thinks we should rape rapists, assault assailants, or burgle the homes of burglars.
This is the "moral equivalence" ("nearest") form of lex talionis.