Get PJ Media on your Apple

Belmont Club

Lapida .338

February 24th, 2013 - 1:36 pm

Stoning is an ancient mode of execution that survives to this day in Iranian law. Like most modes of execution there is a prescribed form, as shown here. It shows how the condemned should be bound, secured in a pit and what how big the allowed rocks used to pelt should be: “around the size of a tangerine”. Anything else is an assault rock.

Should not be stored in high powered bags exceeding five rocks in capacity

Although it is commonly thought that stoning, or lapidation, is a punishment reserved for adultery, it was historically applied to a wide variety of offenses, of which adultery was simply one. However, the connection between stoning and adultery in popular culture is a strong one, and what people dominantly think of to this day. About all they know about lapidation and its history is that it is vaguely connected with a 100 year old book called the Bible, a circumstance that leads to such vexing questions as: “did Jesus contradict the Bible by saving a woman from being stoned for adultery”?

Hard to know which side of that to come down on. After all, it’s never PC to come down on the side of Jesus … but on the other hand it does go up against the Bible. Some people may have to think about that one.

One exit from that intellectual dilemma is to argue that the story of Jesus saving a woman from stoning is apocryphal, though this is by no means the accepted belief. Another is to observe that stoning was prohibited by the Roman occupiers of the period. Stonings in the time of Jesus did occur, but they were probably in the nature of “drive-by” stonings that were finished by the time the legionaries and Roman cops showed up on the scene. “Though the evidence indicates that it was illegal under the Roman law for the Jews to execute anyone (John 18:30,31), it appears that the Jews sometimes resorted to stones and the Romans chose to ignore it. Jewish law mandated stoning for certain offenses such as adultery. From the Roman perspective, and that of Pilate the governor, there was no harm done provided no riots ensued.”

Which would have made the famous passage involving Jesus even more interesting since he would have faced down a mob, not simply a bunch of bureaucrats. Like most things we know today, gangs, factions and insurgent groups have been around in ancient times. Doubtless there were some of those even back in the day. Of course the Romans only prohibited capital punishment when carried out by unauthorized persons. If Roman authority so ordered it, they had no problem with executing any number of individuals with methods up to and including crucifixion.

Humanity has increased the size and efficacy of its weapons by leaps and bounds over the last 2100 years. Rocks have since become Hellfire missiles. Cloth rock pouches have given way to the “high powered magazines” whose possession would earn you jail today. But the human heart remains the same. And it is perhaps the long term source of our woes. The methods the human heart employs change with the technology, but its ends are often identical across the eons.

Human rights activists think they can curb the brutality of the Iranian regime by outlawing rocks as weapons of execution; just as certain individuals in Chicago believe they can stop the slaughter of inner city youth by outlawing guns.

Good luck to them.

J. Robert Oppenheimer warned that men had finally figured out a way to build a rock that would crush not only the target but the thrower. “The Atomic Bomb made the prospect of war unendurable. It has led us up those last few steps to the mountain pass; and beyond there is a different country.”  And yet the men who cross into that “different country” will be same. Men who destroyed the Neanderthals and who may have even once surrounded a woman in that long lost day, hindered only by a figure about whose existence we argue even today. The same men confronted arguably by the same figure.

I think Oppenheimer was nearer the mark when he said, “in some crude sort of sense, which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.”   But of sin one might say it is a knowledge which they can increasingly deny.

The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99

Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99

No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99

Tip Jar or Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Comments are closed.

All Comments   (13)
All Comments   (13)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Nice double entandre on the title, Wretchard. You win the internet.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In a day of such weapons the rock is the lowest and the most democratic. While nations work tirelessly to take firearms out of the hands law abiding citizens, gang members add to their arsenal as Iran and North Korea add to theirs. If this tells us anything it says that we are going to be a world that is ruled by the might of law breakers and thugs while the sovereignty of self-defense is thwarted. America was the great hope for democracy, the stone, and now it the great enabler of tyranny, the nuke.

2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
Mr Fernandez, could you please add an NSFW warning to that first link?
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
It’s a pity J. Robert Oppenheimer wasn’t as eloquent on the evils of Communism.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
Under the old system I would have seen the new thread on my phone and posted a quick comment, and subscribed to the comments feed. Given that I checked the BC moments after this thread appeared I would have offered a quick comment, either witty with a link to "The Life of Brian" or sententious with a comment on Oppenheimer's ambivalence about becoming like a the Hindu god, "A destroyer of worlds." Now I cannot log in from my blackberry to comment so my contribution will be late and irrelevant. The comments cannot be subscribed to so good bad or indifferent they vanish down a hole. Subscribing was a key feature of the old system as it gave credence to the thought that if I or others posted some would want to receive preserve and consider our comments, even if the BC vanished.

When I loaded these pages the last thread "A Fistful of Dollars" came up with no comments. So I wrote the following:
"Exactly what is going on here? The comments were deleted again?
What game is this? Twenty-one comments are in Google cache, mine would be on the next (missing) page."

Another reload and 36 comments came up, so my shocked statement is unneeded and fortunately or not seems to have vanished. We can have no confidence in this system or that our contributions will matter.

Right now it is playing the same awful game with me, displaying or eating the comments, and don't tell me the problem is on my end with my cache. It is PJM's problem.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
One can argue that to the Leftists who would be kings; that recorded history began with the apotheosis of Buraq Hussein. There is some evidence to them of an earlier time; in that William Jefferson Blythe Clinton and Hillary Clinton do, in fact, still exist. But their era is at best hazy. Everything before them is myth, and thus infinitely malleable by the Ministry of Truth according to the needs of the State. And when the Clintons become un-persons, they will recede into myth. And although it is heresy and sedition against the State to speak of it now; the day will come when Buraq Hussein loses power and is replaced by a Sinister new god, selected by whatever means. And he too will start the journey to the land of mist and myth.

Thus, the time of Jesus may be 100, 1000, 2000, years ago; or even last week if such serves the current needs of “The Won”. What is important is that the Left can use Alinsky’s Rule 4 to force two enemies of the State [the Bible and Jesus] to contradict each other. That way they can prevent anyone from drawing any lessons for the future from either.

“What is Truth? Is Truth unchanging Law? We both have Truths. Are mine the same as yours?”

Rocks, Lapua’s, AR-15’s, or nuclear weapons are only useful to the enemies of the Constitution insofar as they help maintain their monopoly on coercive force. And they will be interpreted as benefits them.

But in their accounting of the reality they seek to create, they forget there are those for whom there are other, older Truths. And the Universe is not Chicago writ large. We will see which prevails.

Subotai Bahadur
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
Overwhelmingly folks who come across this passage in the Bible do not know the whole law that was involved in this “Test�, Jesus followed the Law to the word and then some. The Law was BOTH the man and women “caught in the act of Adultery� must be brought forward at the same time, the crowd only brought the women, they had no right to stone her because “They� did not follow the Law! Jesus judgment on this has many levels of fulfillment that there is not enough room to cover them, this is among many other examples shows how man can not follow Gods Law(s).
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
Things go better with Rudyard
The Benefactors
By Rudyard Kipling 1865–1936 Rudyard Kipling
Ah! What avails the classic bent
And what the cultured word,
Against the undoctored incident
That actually occurred?

And what is Art whereto we press
Through paint and prose and rhyme—
When Nature in her nakedness
Defeats us every time?

It is not learning, grace nor gear,
Nor easy meat and drink,
But bitter pinch of pain and fear
That makes creation think.

When in this world’s unpleasing youth
Our godlike race began,
The longest arm, the sharpest tooth,
Gave man control of man;

Till, bruised and bitten to the bone
And taught by pain and fear,
He learned to deal the far-off stone,
And poke the long, safe spear.

So tooth and nail were obsolete
As means against a foe,
Till, bored by uniform defeat,
Some genius built the bow.

Then stone and javelin proved as vain
As old-time tooth and nail;
Till, spurred anew by fear and pain,
Man fashioned coats of mail.

Then was there safety for the rich
And danger for the poor,
Till someone mixed a powder which
Redressed the scale once more.

Helmet and armour disappeared
With sword and bow and pike,
And, when the smoke of battle cleared,
All men were armed alike. . . .

And when ten million such were slain
To please one crazy king,
Man, schooled in bulk by fear and pain,
Grew weary of the thing;

And, at the very hour designed
To enslave him past recall,
His tooth-stone-arrow-gun-shy mind
Turned and abolished all.

All Power, each Tyrant, every Mob
Whose head has grown too large,
Ends by destroying its own job
And works its own discharge;

And Man, whose mere necessities
Move all things from his path,
Trembles meanwhile at their decrees,
And deprecates their wrath!
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
Jury's out on whether the Tyrant has lost.
But "Redressed the scale once more."
Pure genius.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
"the physicists have known sin"
Of course the sin was always there. Perhaps it took the BOMB to finally make them aware of it. And once they had acknowledged the possibility of a scientist sinning, the next station is repentance then redemption.
The evidence for the repentance of scientists is ample, I'm not so certain of the redemption.

Isaac Asimov penned two essays exploring the questions;
1. When did the idea of Science being good first enter mans awareness?
2. When did the concept of the 'Evil Scientist' first appear?

Asimov answered the first question in the person of Benjamin Franklin and his lightening rod; By flying a kite with a thin wire in the string into a thunder cloud, then touching a key tied to the wire to the contact on a Leyden Jar he charged the crude battery with electricity. A few more experiments led him to a pointed metal rod as the best conductor for a lightening strike to be carried harmlessly to ground.
The results were so obviously the product of The Scientific Method and not just the work of a clever tinkerer, and the benefit so great; your house, barn, church not burning down; that the idea of Science being the path to a better future was empressed into the public mind.

The vision of the Evil Scientist, using knowledge to destroy rather than preserve, he dates from the First World War, and the German scientist whose expertese enabled the mass production of poison gas for the Kaisers Huns.
This turned the very air into a weapon and again was not the work of a clever tinkerer but of a discipline and a breed of men held in awe by most people.
So says Asimov.
“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”
― Isaac Asimov
Being famous as- whatever the opposite of a shrinking violet is- I not sure if Asimov included Scientists as part of society but rather counted their knowledge as wisdom. I don’t recall ever hearing one say;
“I’m just a humble physicist.”
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
In the 20th century and after, society did not gather wisdom: in nazism, communism, socialism, fascism, et. al., it abandoned it. And Oppenheimer was among those who choose to abandon it.

And in "The Pox and the Covenant," Ben Franklin the scientist-rancountour opposes vaccination, making him the Jenny McCarthy of his time.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
I couldn't help but note that my hard disk drive went crazy once I followed your stoning link.

It fired off again after a reboot -- once I clicked on PJM.

Is that happening to anyone else?
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All