Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2004


The first part of this article reviews biblical texts that have been (or could plausibly be) read as condemning or repudiating capital punishment. The next, and necessarily more detailed and extensive part, discusses the many texts that explicitly call for, or illustrate application of the death penalty. This section also describes the different prescribed methods for executing offenders, identifies the persons assigned responsibility for carrying out executions, and examines biblical rationales for capital punishment A third part describes a variety of biblical provisions that, using modern legal terminology, may be said to afford certain due process procedures and protections. The conclusion notes that although both proponents and opponents of capital punishment commonly misconstrue certain biblical texts, a great many biblical texts express fundamental concerns which might well be considered relevant and important in evaluating contemporary United States death penalty jurisprudence and practice.

Included in

Religion Law Commons