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Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Ezekiel strikes the first note for Personal Responsibility for legal transgression

In 600 BC, writing from captivity in Babylon, the Prophet Ezekiel suggests a break with three fundamental tribal assumptions concerning Law: The Unity of Humans in the Natural World, Unity of the Tribe, and Unity of Motive and Action, the last sometimes extending to Cause and Effect.

The book of Ezekiel begins with a series of dream/visions and isolations: "This is Jerusalem" set in the midst of the nations and countries around her. This was a "sanctuary" which was defiled. 5:5, 9, 11. "I will make thee a waste". 5:14. "I send upon you famine and evil beasts". 5:17. These isolations and the analytic separation of Israel/Tribe/Jerusalem had been begun in the Pentateuch.

But the Prophet Ezekiel goes further. He writes in answer to the question which contained the cultural assumption of unity between the individual and the clan: "The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father." This is drawn from the observation that we are each born and die separately-- as in "the soul that sinneth, it shall die".

Thus we find Ezekiel signaling a change from Group Responsibility -- the collective guilt which tribal people assume.

Ezekiel then goes on to presage another analytical separation of a tribal assumption relating to act and intent. At 18:24, "when the righteous man turns away from his righteousness, and commits an act of iniquity as done by the wicked, shall he live?" Here, Ezekiel sees and suggests a separation between Act and Intent. This is a second revolutionary sidestep from tribal law, which assumes a unity of deed and motive in which any separation is moot.

SUM: Primitive or Tribe-oriented Law assumes a Unity or continuity between Man/Nature, Individual/Group, and Being(intention)/Doing(act). Ezekiel, in 600 BC presents an Analytic distinction of the components within the primitive "unities". This signatls the synthetic functionalism of modern law which seeks individual (human) responsibility (personal) for blameworthy consequences (depending further on the intention/negligence of the perpetrator).