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Synopsis

Analysing the law of the talion - an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth - William Ian Miller presents an original meditation on the concept of 'pay back'. Miller's unique theory of justice offers redemption through retaliation, espousing the view that revenge requires a deep commitment to balance in order to get even in a strict but fair manner. As a result we find that much of what is assumed to be justice, honour or respect is a way of providing this balance. Moreover, according to its biblical roots, the laws of the talion imply that the value of an eye can only be matched with another eye, suggesting that body parts are currency. Applying this concept to the real world, Miller looks at Shylock's pound of flesh bargain, at blood oaths, and at other societies and cultures, comparing the ancient, and supposedly more primitive, with their modern counterparts.

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