Blame it on Eli
Some people had too much time on their hands so much that they have to create elaborate categories of sins and detailed tables of penance. This was necessary since the ecclesiological practice of both the synagogue and the early church required confession and provided the means to penance. Who would have thought that the redefinition of sins and atonements would have such impact?
Part of the problem was attributable to Eli, the priest, whose filial lecture recognized only two categories of sins. Eli had said: “If a person sins against man, God will mediate for him; but if a man sins against the Lord who can intervene for him?”
Man being creative in the ways he sinned soon had to recognize more categories for transgressions being careful to be flexible enough that most miscreants could live with their sanctions. However, no matter how imprecise the boundaries, there was always a need to “cut off” those who committed mortal sins.
High-handed v. unwitting; conscious v. unconscious; death by human hand v. death by God’s hand; remissible v. irremissible; capitalia v. mortalia; and the list goes go.
Blaming Eli for recognizing only two categories of sins does not address the more important question. Does the forgiveness of sin require the sinner to do penance?