[LMB] Religion question

Tony Zbaraschuk tzbarasc at lasierra.edu
Fri Jul 16 14:18:12 BST 2021

On Thu, Jul 15, 2021 at 8:44 PM Eric Oppen <ravenclaweric at gmail.com> wrote:

> As I understand it (no learned Hebrew scholar am I) the commandment in
> question should be translated more accurately as "thou shalt *do no
> murder*."
> Murder is a very specific kind of killing.

Right, "killing someone in your community for no reason".  In King James'
English, "thou shalt not kill" meant approximately what we mean today by
"don't murder anyone", and "slay" covered the semantic scope we use "kill"
Killing people outside the community (war) or killing someone inside the
community either with formal procedure (execution) or in accord with
informal norms (self-defense, _crime passionel_, "he had it coming") is
usually another thing.

A whole lot of what we've done in the last few thousand years has been to
(a) extend the community size from family to tribe to nation to (maybe)
world, (b) restrict the scope of war by having formal peace agreements and
limiting the possible reasons to declare war, and (c) expanding legal
structures (courts, police) to handle many of the in-community situations
that were formerly resolved by informal action (family blood avenger, feud,
posse, etc., etc.)  But all those structures and agreements and community
extensions are much more fragile than we are comfortable admitting, and
every generation has to commit to them all over again...

ObBujold: Aral discussing duels with Cordelia, and the effort that it took
to stamp that custom out.  Or "Mountains of Morning" and the transition
from "it's acceptable to twist the neck of mutie babies" to "no, it's
really not."

Tony Zbaraschuk
Bookworm, talker, learner
Et vocavit Deus, "Fiat lux!"

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