Skip to main content

View Diary: Why do so many folks here use the term "Old Testament" as code for barbarism? (265 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  An Eye for an Eye (0+ / 0-)

    That is the popular conception of 'Old Testament' Justice that people have, and the reason the term is associated with barbarism.  I wish you luck with your nascent campaign to make people aware of all the happy enlightened old testament thought... Start with the Jubilee perhaps.  In the meanwhile, do we just assume that anyone who uses Old Testament in anything other than flattering light is an anti-semite only, or that they hate those of christian and muslim faiths, which also consider the Old Testament to be holy scripture?

    •  It means proportional punishment... (0+ / 0-)

      You may think it's barbarism, but if it is, neither Christianity nor much of modern politics has caught up with it.

      Of course this is not a literal phrase -- it's a shorthand legal term, and usually it means "monetary compensation".  But even if you take it literally, it means "don't punish the guilty out of proportion to his crime".  It used to be that if someone did murder, they'd not only execute him but punish his family.  One of the recent diaries here talks about some youth getting locked up for 30 years or whatever for selling $300 worth of pot.  So perhaps the US would be a bit less barbaric if we adopted ayin tachat ayin?

      In Christianity, it is taught that he who breaks one bit of the law is guilty of all, and hence there is no such thing as a distinction between petty sin and severe sin: every last human being is guilty of undifferentiated sin, and deserves the ultimate punishment -- eternity in hell.  (I know that Catholics have moderated this with different levels of sin, and the doctrine of purgatory, but I speak now of the usual Protestant understanding, based on what James and Paul actually wrote.) From my perspective, this is much much more barbaric than ayin tachat ayin, since now there is no emphasis on how good or bad someone is or what the mitigating factors are, but rather on whether they've made the separate deal (believing in Jesus) that has nothing to do with righteousness but gets them the free pardon.

      I'd rather have ayin tachat ayin (or as it's called in Latin, lex talionis) than the Christian view of punishment or some of the unbounded retributionist views that I see in modern times.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site