Religion Past and Present

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Death Penalty
(3,790 words)

[German Version]

I. Old Testament – II. New Testament – III. Judaism – IV. Law – V. Ethics

I. Old Testament

The death penalty in the Old Testament has three causes: 1. blood revenge as a direct legal reaction by a family damaged by a homicide; 2. cultic law involving severe violations of religious taboos such as witchcraft, sodomy and apostasy (Ex 22:17–19); 3. family property rights (Ex 21:12, 15–17) with violations against the authority of the parents, kidnapping and killin…

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Otto, Eckart, de Boer, Martinus C., Reichman, Ronen, Owens, Erik C. and Gräb-Schmidt, Elisabeth, “Death Penalty”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 21 July 2024 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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