Relive the excitement of the Patriots’ path to their fourth Super Bowl Championship with “Pumped,” a special commemorative book from The Boston Globe.

Letters | EPISTLES TO THE BOSTONIANS

‘Eye for eye’ passage endorses proportionality, not vengeance

IT’S IRONIC that in her column on forgiveness (“The crucial act of forgiveness,” Op-ed, Dec. 25), Farah Stockman implies that the Biblical passage, “eye for eye, tooth for tooth,” etc., endorses revenge. Albeit inadvertently, Stockman joins those who have misinterpreted the passage in a way that casts aspersions on Jewish ethical values.

Biblical scholars hold that, even in ancient times, “an eye for an eye” simply required just compensation to those who had been wronged — that punishments must be proportionate to the offenses.

Continue reading below

Far from endorsing revenge, this was a major ethical advance, since retaliation against entire families or clans was a common response after harms were inflicted. The passage, properly understood, is meaningful even today.

MICHAEL N. ALEXANDER

Lexington

Loading comments...

Wake up with today's top stories.

Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
or
Please enter a valid email
BostonGlobe.com will never post anything without asking. Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com