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History of Actual Penalties

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  • History of Actual Penalties

    Here, and elsewhere, I see mention of punishments actually carried out under Mosiac law. EXAMPLE: mishaving sons are subject to the death penalty if found guilty. I see the claim that this never occurred. How do we know? Does a record exist somewhere for someone to look at? Is it in the Talmud?
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  • #2
    There's no record of it having ever occurred. That doesn't eliminate the possibility but it does seem highly improbable. The law is a back door to recognizing the child as independent of the parents. Instead of parents being able to do whatever they like with a child (as per ownership) in this instance the parents must seek public permission.

    Strangely to the modern mind, it actually makes killing children on your own illegal.

    The common objection to this law is probably what made it work - what kind of charge could you reasonably bring to convince people you need to kill your kid? For that matter what does it look like to your friends and neighbors if you bring such charges? You're basically admitting you're incompetent parents - which is not something someone in an honor/shame society would care to do - heck, individualists don't wanna do that. It was easier to ship the kid off to a relative or figure out how to solve the problem than to get official sanction for killing your kid - and facing the worst possible outcome, that they find in favor of your kid. Small towns know you - probably way too well...

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    • #3
      Well, we do have the record of the man being stoned for picking up sticks on the Sabbath. Apologists tend to argue he was used as an early example for everyone else, a la Ananias and Sapphira.
      "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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      • #4
        Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
        Well, we do have the record of the man being stoned for picking up sticks on the Sabbath. Apologists tend to argue he was used as an early example for everyone else, a la Ananias and Sapphira.
        Yeah I meant outside the Scriptures....
        Watch your links! http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/fa...corumetiquette

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
          There's no record of it having ever occurred. That doesn't eliminate the possibility but it does seem highly improbable. The law is a back door to recognizing the child as independent of the parents. Instead of parents being able to do whatever they like with a child (as per ownership) in this instance the parents must seek public permission.

          Strangely to the modern mind, it actually makes killing children on your own illegal.

          The common objection to this law is probably what made it work - what kind of charge could you reasonably bring to convince people you need to kill your kid? For that matter what does it look like to your friends and neighbors if you bring such charges? You're basically admitting you're incompetent parents - which is not something someone in an honor/shame society would care to do - heck, individualists don't wanna do that. It was easier to ship the kid off to a relative or figure out how to solve the problem than to get official sanction for killing your kid - and facing the worst possible outcome, that they find in favor of your kid. Small towns know you - probably way too well...
          all very good points.
          Watch your links! http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/fa...corumetiquette

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          • #6
            Originally posted by DesertBerean View Post
            Here, and elsewhere, I see mention of punishments actually carried out under Mosiac law. EXAMPLE: mishaving sons are subject to the death penalty if found guilty. I see the claim that this never occurred. How do we know? Does a record exist somewhere for someone to look at? Is it in the Talmud?
            A claim that it never occurred would be an argument from silence; we have only a tiny fraction of the record of those who have gone before us. I'm sure it's discussed in the Mishnah and/or the Talmud somewhere, but I haven't read them.

            Regarding TL's points, everyone in the past - not just in small town settings - knew their neighbors much better than we do today; privacy is a very modern (and, at that, Western) notion. There wouldn't have been much need for parents to bring a public charge, because a rebellious son would have been well-known. This would have served to keep rebellious sons in check; those who flouted so outrageously the admonition to honor one's parents would have been a danger to society, and society would have acted to take them out in accordance with the law.
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