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date: 01 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines diverse scholarly opinions and disagreements about Jewish criminal law that have never been resolved and rarely applied. It discusses the dual aspect of Jewish criminal law that makes it universal, binding on both Jews and non-Jews. Attention shifts to the internal Jewish criminal law and its offenses, including those punishable by death or flogging. It shows that punishment in Jewish law is redemptive rather than deterrent and also examines the expression in the Torah “a life for a life, an eye for an eye,” and how it is interpreted by rabbinic law. It considers the King’s law as well as the seven crimes articulated by Noah: murder, theft, idolatry, blasphemy, sexual offences (adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, incest), eating flesh taken from a living animal, and “Laws.” Finally, it looks at the treatment of homicide and analyses a number of criminal defenses such as insanity, self-defense, duress, and necessity.

Keywords: Jewish criminal law, Jews, offences, punishment, Jewish law, Torah, rabbinic law, homicide, criminal defenses, crimes

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