By Vernon W. Redekop
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Additional resources for A life for a life?: death penalty on trial
My colleagues at the Church Council on Justice and Corrections stimulated my thinking on the connection between the Bible and criminal justice issues. To Lorraine Berzins, Dave McCord, James Scott, Jean Somers, and Lorraine Therriault, I am grateful. Although they remain anonymous, the prisoners and victims who shared their stories with me have grounded this book in real life. Rae MacDonald suggested an entry for the first chapter. Gloria Neufeld Redekop lent her considerable Greek exegetical skills to my analysis of New Testament texts.
This book will assume that answers to these questions are important to you and others like you. You know that real people get killed by electric shock, hanging, injection, or firing squads; that real parents mourn the loss of a child who has been executed. You also understand that real victims suffer from the loss of spouse, children, and friends. They can spend years planning revenge. This book also assumes that our decision about the death penalty involves religion on its various levels. A Religious Issue Most churches have taken a stand on the death penalty.
For example, the man who gathered wood did it on the Sabbath, just when the idea of resting on the Lord's day was being established legally. Since wood in the wilderness was scarce, this put him at Page 24 an unfair advantage over everyone else. Had he been permitted to do so, community discipline on the Sabbath (which was hard to maintain in the best of times) might have broken down. Keeping the Sabbath was one of the most significant actions for the identity of the Jewish community. The half-Egyptian who cursed God in the middle of a fight threatened the faith of the whole community, for belief in God was quite fragile.
A life for a life?: death penalty on trial by Vernon W. Redekop