The Biblical Truth about America's Death Penalty

The Biblical Truth about America's Death Penalty

5.0 1
by Dale S. Recinella
     
 

ISBN-10: 1555536328

ISBN-13: 9781555536329

Pub. Date: 11/18/2004

Publisher: Northeastern University Press

While secular support for capital punishment in America seems to be waning, religious conservatives, particularly in the "Bible belt," remain staunch advocates of the death penalty, citing biblical law and practice to defend government-sanctioned killing. Dale S. Recinella compares biblical teaching about the death penalty, including such passages as "eye for eye,

Overview

While secular support for capital punishment in America seems to be waning, religious conservatives, particularly in the "Bible belt," remain staunch advocates of the death penalty, citing biblical law and practice to defend government-sanctioned killing. Dale S. Recinella compares biblical teaching about the death penalty, including such passages as "eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life," with the nation's current system of capital punishment, and offers persuasive arguments for a faith-based moratorium on — and eventual abolition of — executions.

Framing his careful and incisive analysis as a legal brief to those who believe the Bible mandates the ultimate punishment, the author addresses two critical areas of inquiry: what do the scriptures tell us about who is deserving of death and who has the authority to kill, and what do they tell us about the required standards for execution and the plight of victims' families. Recinella's examination of the Hebrew Torah, or Christian Pentateuch, and the Talmud reveals that the biblical death penalty was not a simple system of swift retribution, but a complex and practical set of laws that guided capital courts established under the Sanhedrin. His scrutiny of these texts, the Christian doctrine of atonement, and Romans 13 in the Pauline Epistles, draws parallels between the traditional biblical arguments used in favor of capital punishment and those used as the basis for pro-slavery positions in the nineteenth century. Demonstrating that both approaches are unsubstantiated in biblical terms, Recinella debunks the accepted religious reasoning for support of the death penalty and shows instead that the Bible's strict conditions for sanctioning execution are at odds with the arbitrary ways in which capital punishment is administered in the United States. He provides convincing evidence that a sentence of death in today's criminal justice system in fact fails to meet both the Bible's exacting procedural requirements and its strict limitations on judicial authority.

By providing actual scriptural language and foundation to counter the position that biblical truth justifies a pro-death penalty stance, this thoughtful, solidly researched, and well-reasoned work will give pause to religious fundamentalists and challenge them to rethink their strongly held views on capital punishment.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781555536329
Publisher:
Northeastern University Press
Publication date:
11/18/2004
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.22(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

List of Tablesxi
Prefacexiii
Acknowledgmentsxxv
Introduction
1Trends in the American Death Penalty3
2Torah and Talmud17
3A Point of Beginning: Beyond Platitudes28
Part 1What does Biblical Truth Tell us About Who is Deserving of Death and the Authority to Kill?
4The Mosaic Law: From Moses to Jesus; from Cain to Lamech37
5Life for Life and the Rule of Blood: Mandate or Law of Limitation?47
6Who Deserves Death? Torah, the American Colonies, and Modern America58
7A Christian Conundrum under Mosaic Law: Atonement by Sacrifice versus Reconciliation by Grace71
8Authority to Kill: The Sanhedrin82
9Authority to Kill: Extra-biblical Courts and Romans 1392
10Authority to Kill: Biblical Deterrence103
11Summary of Part One111
Part 2What does Biblical Truth Tell us about the Required Procedures and the Plight of the Families of the Victims?
12An Innocent Person You Shall Not Slay: Witnesses Permitted119
13An Innocent Person You Shall Not Slay: Evidence Permitted141
14An Innocent Person You Shall Not Slay: Innocence versus Closure160
15Let It Be Done to Them as They Sought to Do to Him: False Testimony and Prosecutorial Misconduct185
16Levels of Culpability and Diminished Capacity: Age, Mental Illness, and Mental Retardation210
17God Is Blind to Wealth: No Privilege for Rich over Poor228
18God Is Blind to Color: All Victims Are of Equal Value; All Offenders Are to Be Treated Equally247
19Impartiality in the Decision Makers: The Politics of Death274
20For Whom Is It a Detriment? The American Death Penalty and Families of the Victims306
21Summary of Part Two324
22A Faith Alternative: Abolition or Moratorium of the American Death Penalty by People of Biblical Faith331
Appendix AShort form of an Abolition Resolution for People of Biblical Faith345
Appendix BShort Form of a Moratorium Resolution for People of Biblical Faith348
Appendix C2000 Southern Baptist Convention Resolution on Capital Punishment Passed in Orlando, Florida in June, 2000351
Abbreviations and Notes on Citations353
Notes361
Bibliography393
Cases Cited409
Permissions411
Index of Scriptures Cited421
Index423

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The Biblical Truth about America's Death Penalty 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
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