Where did the theory about "An eye for an eye" actually originate from?
You can find this quote in the Holy Bible in the Old Testament therefore one would assume it came about with the Hebrews back around the time of Moses.
The idea of lex talionis, or an eye for an eye, dates back to prehistoric societies where justice was carried out by the victim or his or her family. As far back as 2200 BC the Kingdom of Babylon in Mesopotamia (what is now Iraq) created the Code of Hammurabi. This code established a more organized system of law enforcement, outlined specific punishments for wrong doings and no longer allowed individuals to enforce their own punishment.
This was not a theory. It was an Israelite law.
You will find it in the book of Exodus in the Bible. The reference is Exodus 21:23-24
It is in the Bible Exodus 21:23, 24 but it was also in the ancient Mesopotamian code of Hammurabi.
I certainly won't contradict anything written so far, as it all seems sourced and very well known by the responders.
I will add *this* though. An eye for an eye was actually a more/tenet/commandment/principal about punitive *restraint*. That, as far as the legal system (or church) should be concerned, an eye for an eye is an admonishment NOT to punish MORE severly than the crime/misdeed warrants.
In short it means An eye for an eye. You don't get to take both eyes from s/he who robbed you of one. That's called revenge.
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