Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 28 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

“An eye for an eye” is a famous summary statement regarding appropriate punishment for a wrong, especially personal injury. It has been variously understood as requiring equivalent, even duplicate, punishment or as setting a limit on punishment, and has even been labeled primitive or barbaric. In the biblical world it primarily represents the notion that the crime and the punishment should be commensurable and establishes a basis for negotiation. In the case of false witnessing, the biblical and ancient Near Eastern legal tradition emphasizes that a lying witness should receive the punishment that would have been determined for the accused. In ancient Israel, capital punishment is generally more restricted than among its neighbors. In the Gospel tradition this principle of commensurability is turned upside down, shifting the emphasis to how one should not lie, whether under oath or not, and should positively respond even to forceful actions or demands.

Keywords: commensurability, compensation, Covenant Code, fundamental law, intentionality, lex talionis, negotiation, punishment, retaliation, Ten Commandments

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.