human sacrifice and death penalty (mea culpa)

George Thompson thompson at JLC.NET
Mon Apr 27 01:55:56 UTC 1998

I hope that Jean Fezas and Lars Martin Fosse will not mind if a third voice
surfaces in their dispute. It seems to me that the question whether or not
the death penalty is sacrificial hinges on the question whether or not the
victim of a death penalty can be said to be a surrogate victim. In my view,
if the victim is, or is perceived as, a surrogate, then the murder is
sacrificial. If it does  not involve a surrogate victim, then the murder is
something else again [and not sacrificial].

Perhaps we could all benefit from a careful discussion of the specific
nature of sacrifice, and a discussion of the ways in which it differs from
other forms of murder.

This question is certainly Indological insofar as sacrificial logic thrives
in traditional India. Or so it seems to me.

Best wishes,

George Thompson

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