Talion (lex taliionis, «law of retaliation») is a term for a punishment equal to the offense. It is derived from Genesis 9:6, «Whoever sheds a man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.»

Most talions were abolished in Talmudic times (BK 8. 1) on the grounds that «an eye for an eye» is only superficial justice, i.e., an eye for an eye may be stronger than the other, but nonetheless it was ultimately accepted that the measure by which man measures is the measure by which he will be measured (Sat. 1. 7). A.G.H.


Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 94