Published on Thursday, July 12, 2012
Eye for an eye (lex talionis)
The meaning of the principle, an eye for an eye, is that a person who has injured another person is similarly injured in retribution, or according to other interpretations receives the value of the injury in compensation.
The phrase, "an eye for an eye", (??? ??? ????, ayin tachat ayin, literally 'an eye under an eye'), is a quotation from several passages of the Hebrew Bible which means that a person who has injured the eye of another, either literally has his own eye injured as punishment, or according to other interpretations is instructed to pay the monetary value of an eye as compensation. It defined and restricted the extent of retribution in the laws of the Torah.
The English word talion means a punishment identical to the offense, from the Latin talio. The principle of "an eye for an eye" is often referred to using the Latin phrase lex talionis, the law of talion.