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Bodily Harm in the Old Testament
(368 words)

[German Version]

In Israel and Judah, bodily harm was originally avenged through the legal institution of the talion (Exod 21:24f.), an immediate juridical response on the part of the injured party, who inflicted on the wrongdoer a punishment equal to the crime. When the law governing bodily harm was entrusted to the local authorities (Judicial system), the right of immediate retaliation by the injured party or an agnate was replaced by a law of compensation, which substituted compensatory damages paid by the wrongdoer for counter-violence inflicted…

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Otto, Eckart, “Bodily Harm in the Old Testament”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 21 July 2024 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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