human sacrifice and death penalty

Erik Hoogcarspel jehms at GLOBALXS.NL
Sun Apr 26 21:03:50 UTC 1998

Op zondag, 26-apr-98 schreef Lars Martin Fosse:

LMF> Indology is not a place to discuss matters of criminal law and penalty, but
LMF> for the record, let me add that I regard both the views expressed by people
LMF> who support the death penalty and the views of Medhatithi as simplistic.

I hope the above is not the report of a contingent phenomena, but the outcome of reasoning, in other words: are there any arguments?
Of course this list is not intended for a debate on legal or ethical issues, but it might not turn out to be unreasonable to ignore anthropological and sociological points of view. After all in order to understand Indian rituals, we have to know what a ritual is. Some scientists might want to think that modern western culture has marginalised all rituals, but maybe this is just because rituals are not called that way anymore and are hidden behind technical instruments and rationalisations. If we take this for granted, it doesn't help us understanding rituals very much. Apart from that sociologists like Weber, Durkheim and Bourdieu insist on the relation between religious concepts and social matters. Michel Foucault shows in his 'Discipline and Punishment' how the way we punish criminals is related to the way we conceive ourselves and our society. Just to say that it is and has always been a matter of retaliation or deterrence doesn't seem to be a substantiated conclusion.


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