Article

Judaism and Criminal Justice

Laurie L. Levenson

in The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics and Morality

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199736065
Published online January 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199736065.013.0031

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Judaism and Criminal Justice

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This chapter explores Jewish criminal justice, first discussing the rationales that make punishment moral and not just an exercise of sovereign power. It then addresses capital punishment, decreed for thirty-six different offenses in the Torah but made virtually inoperative by the Rabbis. Next, the chapter turns to what makes a defendant criminally liable, describing the conceptions of causation, joint offenders, criminal intent, and defences in Jewish law; with that as a foundation, it asks whether there is anything like a victimless crime in Jewish law. Finally, it describes the lessons that Western criminal justice can learn from both the content and the processes of Jewish criminal law.

Keywords: capital punishment; Jewish criminal law; Torah; rabbis; criminal liability; Jewish law; causation; joint offenders; criminal intent; defence

Article.  6587 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Judaism and Jewish Studies ; Religious Studies ; Religious Issues and Debates

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