human sacrifice and death penalty (mea culpa)
jean.fezas at WANADOO.FR
Sun Apr 26 20:11:50 UTC 1998
At 09:56 26.04.98 +0200 Lars Martin Fosse wrote:
>Spheres of concepts: Sacrifice deals with the relationship between humans
>and the divine powers. It is based on certain ideas about how the cosmos
>Death penalty: Is related to social control. Society defines certain acts as
>unacceptable and wants to put an end to them. The methods chosen are based
>upon certain ideas about how humans function as individuals and social
>beings, how their behaviour is regulated etc. Deterrence and revenge are
>prominent motives for using the death penalty.
>>and as this
>>list is supposed to discuss indological topics not personal prejudices,
>>let medhAtithi (around the 8th century ?) answer to Dr. Fosse.
>Pardon me? Which personal prejudices are you talking about? My remark was
>trigged by Mr. Hoogcarspel's suggestion that there might a kind of
>connection between sacrifice and the death penalty as practiced with the
>electric chair. I simply pointed out that this is not a meaningful
>comparison. Quoting Medhatithi's views are irrelevant here. In modern
>society, the rationalization for using the death penalty is deterrence, not
>sacrifice or purification. In the popular mind, there is no doubt a strong
>component of revenge (just see the reacions to one of the last much
>publicized executions in Texas). Personal prejudice has nothing to do with
>it, I am just referring to observable facts.
>Indology is not a place to discuss matters of criminal law and penalty, but
>for the record, let me add that I regard both the views expressed by people
>who support the death penalty and the views of Medhatithi as simplistic.
I beg the pardon of Dr.art. Lars Martin Fosse, but
A) I am perverse enough to think that "the relationship between humans and
the divine powers" and "social control" are deeply correlated, and that the
study of such correlations has some interest...
B) I think that "observable facts" are "the facts that I observe", and that
the way I interpret them may be influenced by personal prejudice. As
Monseigneur Lamothe said to one of my friend, his student, who
point of buddhist doctrine, "Mon pauvre ami, vous serez toujours un
C) I tried to understand the position of dharmazAstra on death penalty, an
effort I supposed connected not only with juridical anthropology, but also
D) To this effect I cited medhAtithi, the oldest -- and most revered
commentary on Manu. I confess, I stupidely trusted G. Bühler, PV Kane, JDM
Derrett and a few others, who described his work as "erudite", "full of
E) Worse, I even imagined that indology was a place to discuss matters of
[hindu] criminal law and penalty. I should have known better...
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