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Death penalty

Stinky

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What is the Orthodox position on the death penalty? Has it change over time or in different regions? What is your personal opinion?
 

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Two death row inmates in South Carolina, now required by law to choose between a yet-to-be-formed firing squad and a 109-year-old electric chair, have decided to sue instead
 

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My personal opinion is that it is necessary. Too bad pedophilia, child molestation, and rape are not capital crimes.
 

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I am not sure if the Orthodox has an official position.
 

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No matter how sinful, I hope every person will turn to God and that the time would not be cut short prematurely. Jesus came for Death Row sinners like the thief on the cross. Lord, have mercy and save us.
 

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At least in the US, people have a lot of time for repentance on death row.
 

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How is this "non-religious topic"? 👮‍♂️

Are there any local churches or Saints that would defend it? IIRC OCA and MP are against and I don't recall reading anyone defending it.
 

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Everything is a religious topic in my opinion. We filter everything through the Truth of Christ. But I didn't know if the death penalty was bordering on political discussion on this forum. If it needs to be moved so be it.

In my past I was all for the death penalty and for no waiting, a total loss of taxpayer money and comforts granted to the charged. I was all for a firing squad. Quick, get it done, cheap. Yes, some may actually be found to end up being innocent after all. But I used to think that was the cost of the greater scourge. I used to advocate for castration and sterility for sex crimes that didnt "warrant" death by the courts .
But now I see that I am the sinner and my brother and sister also need Jesus as I do. I see the difference from myself and the " worse" criminal is minimal. I now see that Jesus is our Healer and Savior and the rejoicing of heaven when sinners repent is priceless.
 

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As Orthodox Christians, we ought to stand against Capital Punishment, even as we stand against abortion.

We did not create life, and we have no right to snuff it out.

Yes, some sins are more heinous than others, especially those imposed on the most innocent of society... however, we trust that the Lord will take care of the judgement, and we hope that before He does, that sinner repents.

Our duty is to help the victim, and stand up against the crime, bringing light to it, and educating against it.... but, we are to stop short of taking a life.
 

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As members of most societies, authority is given to the government to conduct violence on our behalf through the law of the land. Being ok with armed forces going to kill and not ok with capital punishment is odd in my mind.
 

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Being ok with armed forces going to kill and not ok with capital punishment is odd in my mind.
AFAIK killing in war is technically speaking not ok either but more like divorce i.e. something that should be repented. It's mostly conveniently forgotten though.
 

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Byzantine historiography and the ideal of an operative "symphonia" of Church and state in the first millennium is interesting in regard to questions like this; cf. death penalty in the first millennium and e.g. it's appropriation in Justinian Code and its Christian predecessors, there was general contemporaneous acceptance in first millennium Christendom of some matters we would today find not only excessive but abhorrent. Emperor St. Constantine for example legislated a slave who had sex with a female master should perish by fire and the woman should also be executed; a child born of such a union should be stripped of all rank and inheritance.

1. The Emperor Constantine to the People.
When a woman is convicted of having secretly had sexual intercourse with her slave, she shall be sentenced to death, and the rascally slave shall perish by fire. Every facility for the proof of this crime shall be afforded all persons, any official can bring the charge, and even the slave-himself shall be permitted to testify concerning it, and if it should be established, he must be granted his freedom. Children born of such an union shall be deprived of all insignia of rank, and shall have nothing but their freedom, nor will they be entitled to receive anything from the estates of their mothers, as bequests under her will, either directly or through the intervention of others. Moreover, the intestate succession of the woman will pass to her legitimate children, or to her nearest relatives, or to those who are designated by law. All the property which the slave who was convicted may have been entitled to, and anything which could, under any circumstances, have been obtained by the children of this union, as belonging to the woman, can be claimed by the heirs above mentioned.
Given on the fourth of the Kalends of June, during the Consulate of Constantine, Consul for the seventh time, and the Caesar Constantius, 326.
 

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How did this apply to male slave owners and their sex slaves/ property bought by them?
 
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St. Paul says the government has the authority to wield the sword in Romans 13. If that's not the death penalty I'm not sure what is.
 

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Jesus was on death row, wrongfully accused by the politically motivated and jealous religious zealots. I think many innocent people are put to death. We become judge when we put our hand in that lot. We look down and see the stone in our hand. I feel I need to stay away from that arena.
 

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Byzantine historiography and the ideal of an operative "symphonia" of Church and state in the first millennium is interesting in regard to questions like this; cf. death penalty in the first millennium and e.g. it's appropriation in Justinian Code and its Christian predecessors, there was general contemporaneous acceptance in first millennium Christendom of some matters we would today find not only excessive but abhorrent. Emperor St. Constantine for example legislated a slave who had sex with a female master should perish by fire and the woman should also be executed; a child born of such a union should be stripped of all rank and inheritance.

1. The Emperor Constantine to the People.
When a woman is convicted of having secretly had sexual intercourse with her slave, she shall be sentenced to death, and the rascally slave shall perish by fire. Every facility for the proof of this crime shall be afforded all persons, any official can bring the charge, and even the slave-himself shall be permitted to testify concerning it, and if it should be established, he must be granted his freedom. Children born of such an union shall be deprived of all insignia of rank, and shall have nothing but their freedom, nor will they be entitled to receive anything from the estates of their mothers, as bequests under her will, either directly or through the intervention of others. Moreover, the intestate succession of the woman will pass to her legitimate children, or to her nearest relatives, or to those who are designated by law. All the property which the slave who was convicted may have been entitled to, and anything which could, under any circumstances, have been obtained by the children of this union, as belonging to the woman, can be claimed by the heirs above mentioned.
Given on the fourth of the Kalends of June, during the Consulate of Constantine, Consul for the seventh time, and the Caesar Constantius, 326.
Thank you.
 

Opus118

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Byzantine historiography and the ideal of an operative "symphonia" of Church and state in the first millennium is interesting in regard to questions like this; cf. death penalty in the first millennium and e.g. it's appropriation in Justinian Code and its Christian predecessors, there was general contemporaneous acceptance in first millennium Christendom of some matters we would today find not only excessive but abhorrent. Emperor St. Constantine for example legislated a slave who had sex with a female master should perish by fire and the woman should also be executed; a child born of such a union should be stripped of all rank and inheritance.

1. The Emperor Constantine to the People.
When a woman is convicted of having secretly had sexual intercourse with her slave, she shall be sentenced to death, and the rascally slave shall perish by fire. Every facility for the proof of this crime shall be afforded all persons, any official can bring the charge, and even the slave-himself shall be permitted to testify concerning it, and if it should be established, he must be granted his freedom. Children born of such an union shall be deprived of all insignia of rank, and shall have nothing but their freedom, nor will they be entitled to receive anything from the estates of their mothers, as bequests under her will, either directly or through the intervention of others. Moreover, the intestate succession of the woman will pass to her legitimate children, or to her nearest relatives, or to those who are designated by law. All the property which the slave who was convicted may have been entitled to, and anything which could, under any circumstances, have been obtained by the children of this union, as belonging to the woman, can be claimed by the heirs above mentioned.
Given on the fourth of the Kalends of June, during the Consulate of Constantine, Consul for the seventh time, and the Caesar Constantius, 326.
My forgettable sense of humor: Constantine did not make edicts like this once he converted to Christianity.
 

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My forgettable sense of humor: Constantine did not make edicts like this once he converted to Christianity.
You're wrong.

Constantine converted in AD 312. The edict was given 14 years after that date by Emperor St. Constantine in AD 326. It remained in effect for centuries. It was retained in major revison of Roman Byzantine law in the sixth century Justinian Code. It was cited here merely as one random example from Byzantine law.

Don't get me wrong, when pressed I affirm and have defend on this forum the sainthood of Emperor St. Constantine.
 
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I think St. Paul says in Romans 13 that we are not to be violent rebels and have to endure what we are under until death by keeping the commandments.
 

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God gave Noah the right to execute the Death Penalty as well as to eat meat.
 

Opus118

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You're wrong.

Constantine converted in AD 312. The edict was given 14 years after that date by Emperor St. Constantine in AD 326. It remained in effect for centuries. It was retained in major revison of Roman Byzantine law in the sixth century Justinian Code. It was cited here merely as one random example from Byzantine law.

Don't get me wrong, when pressed I affirm and have defend on this forum the sainthood of Emperor St. Constantine.
Is there a thread on this topic here ? I did read Eusebius as a youth. and other items that do not jive post 312 may reflect what was necessary to keep together the empire.
 

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Burning a criminal to death in a fire??
....Burning a female for an act which was common by the male. Was there a law that punished men for having sex with their female slaves?
 

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People who defend the death penalty on biblical (or historical Christian) grounds forget how prisons simply didn't exist in most societies. It's really expensive to keep a prisoner alive for years or even decades, and this is a price most historical societies known by humanity simply couldn't afford. Or maybe they could even afford it, but, since we hadn't overcome slavery yet, forced labour was pretty indifferent.

We've grown. We don't need this anymore.
 

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The death penalty, I believe, with some ancient rabbinical and Christian interpreters, was actually carried out far less than might seem to be the case on a casual reading of the OT. It is, of course, presented as a divine rather than cultural or utilitarian mandate, but with one sole exception harkening back to the post-Flood covenant of God with Noah (pre-Mosaic) all penalties of death were subject to redemption by the law.

REDEMPTION FROM THE DEATH PENALTY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.
“Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man" -Gen 9:6

In the Old Testament although there are thirty six actions which have a judicial penalty of death, there was only one single case that the guilty party could not be REDEEMED FROM DEATH (Numbers 35:31), namely murder in the first degree of an innocent person. The penalty showed the seriousness of the particular sins and allowance for redemption for the same the depth of mercy in a manner that one without the other fails to communicate in both directions. "It must be noted that the death penalty might also indicate the seriousness of the crime without calling for the actual implementation of it in every case. In fact, there is little evidence that many of these sanctions were ever actually carried out in ancient Israel. Only in the case of premeditated murder was there the added stricture of 'Do not accept a ransom for the life of the murderer who deserves to die' (Num 35:31). Traditional wisdom, both in the Jewish and Christian communities, interpreted this verse in Numbers 35:31 to mean that out of the almost twenty cases calling for capital punishment in the Old Testament, every one of them could have the sanction commuted by an appropriate substitute of money or anything that showed the seriousness of the crime, but in the case of what we today call first-degree murder, there was never to be offered or accepted any substitute or bargaining of any kind: the offender had to pay with his or her life" (Walter Kaiser Jr., Peter H. Davids, F. F. Bruce, and Manfred T. Brauch, Hard Sayings of the Bible (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1996), p. 162). Christ's teachings about the law taken as a whole, and especially considering the likes of the pericope of the woman caught in adultery, similarly touch upon both sides of the sin/mercy dialectic without minimizing either pole rather than one at the expense at the other.

prisons simply didn't exist in most societies. It's really expensive to keep a prisoner alive for years or even decades, and this is a price most historical societies known by humanity simply couldn't afford.
IThis is inaccurate.

Prisons are attested in the ancient Near East from the earliest known law code, of Ur Nammu in the third millennium BC, onward to the code of Hammurabi and beyond. From the Early Assyrian period onward forced labor was nearly universal. There are dozens of references to imprisonments in the Bible from the imprisonment of Joseph by the Egyptians (Gen 37) to the imprisonment of Satan in the Book of Revelation. Samson's imprisonment by the Philistines is related in the book of Judges: “Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison” (Judges 16:21). It only takes a brief moment of two of study to find numerous other figures in the Bible who were imprisoned in most major periods and locations mentioned therein from Egypt to the Mediterranean Coast to to Babylon to Persia to Rome and elsewhere including Jeremiah, Micaiah, Zedekia, Daniel, John the Baptist, Peter, James, John, Silas, Paul, Epaphras, Aristarchus, Junia, Paul, and Jesus.

Despite the existence of imprisonment in Israel the law code of the Pentateuch never mandaties it, though it does provide for cities of refuge -primarily as a protection for the accused; the law of Moses as such is, rather, primarily concerned with restorative justice, ,whether to the victim or for the covenant community by removal of certain offenders.. That is not, however because "prisons simply didn't exist in most societies" but rather in contrast to what existed in most surrounding ancient Near Eastern societies.
 
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RaphaCam

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It's not inaccurate. I'm specifically talking about most societies, not most societies you remember when one mentions most societies. Many of the more complex societies of the past, and even then not nearly all of them, did have prisons.
 

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In the Old Testament although there are thirty six actions which have a judicial penalty of death [...]
The 36 crimes are part rabbinical extrapolation. Jewish Encyclopedia list them as such.
Thus, with reference to bigamy with mother and daughter the law reads (Lev. xx. 14): "It is wickedness" ("Zimmah hi"), and because elsewhere (ib. xviii. 17) the identical expression is used with reference to criminal conversation of man with female relatives of other degrees, rabbinic law affixes the penalty which the Pentateuch attaches to the former also to the latter (Sanh. ix. 1, 75a; Sifra, Ḳedoshim, ix. 17).
-
To the issue of the thread, (forum user) mathetes, in the other thread, mentioned 1 Corinthians 5, which corresponds to the rubric of Leviticus 18:7. I think it is an example of the extrapolation. In any case St Paul says: ``καὶ τοιαύτη πορνεία ἥτις οὐδὲ ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν'' -> ``and such fornication which [is] not even among the gentiles''.

If a people rarely commit a certain crime, they will have less need for capital punishment for that crime than a nation who frequently commit it will have. Wouldn't it make sense therefore to avoid mixing nations who need executions with peoples who are rather law-abiding?
Or maybe I'm knocking on an open door. :]
 

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It's important to note that the Talmud consistently attests the rarity of the death penalty in Jewish society! For example:

  • The death penalty had to be discussed by an entire Small Sanhedrin, that is, 23 judges (Sanhedrin 2a);
  • People had to be declared guilty by at least 13 of the 23 judges, but those who were to be declared guilty by all 23 were acquitted, because it meant that the judges were biased (Sanhedrin 17a);
  • The trial had to necessarily start with reasons for one to be acquitted (Sanhedrin 32b)
  • The Small Sanhedrin could not condemn a man to death in the same day the evidence was presented, so the judges could have more time to think about reasons to acquit him (Sanhedrin 17a);
  • There was a huge number of requirements for one to be qualifiable as a witness (e.g. Sanhedrin 9a, Makkot 2b).
  • Perjurors were liable to flogging (Makkot 2b);
  • Usually, two valid witnesses had to testify that they had warned the perpetrator that he could be put to death if he committed the crime (Sanhedrin 8b).

The formalities go on. It was possible to convict someone to death in extremely rare cases without all technicalities being met, but it wasn't normal. It seems the Torah imposed death as a maximum penalty for the capital crimes, even though that's not explicitly specified. The Rudder presents maximum penance in the same fashion, so it's not weird.

Actually, the Hebrews saw the death penalty as such an extreme measure that the Talmud also famously brings up the following debate:

Makkot 7a said:
The mitzva to establish a Sanhedrin with the authority to administer capital punishments is in effect both in Eretz Yisrael and outside Eretz Yisrael. A Sanhedrin that executes a transgressor once in seven years is characterized as a destructive tribunal. Since the Sanhedrin would subject the testimony to exacting scrutiny, it was extremely rare for a defendant to be executed. Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya says: This categorization applies to a Sanhedrin that executes a transgressor once in seventy years. Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiva say: If we had been members of the Sanhedrin, we would have conducted trials in a manner whereby no person would have ever been executed. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says: In adopting that approach, they too would increase the number of murderers among the Jewish people. The death penalty would lose its deterrent value, as all potential murderers would know that no one is ever executed.
It's interesting how the argument of Shimon ben Gamliel lies on what penologists call general deterrance, rather than retribution (punishing people as they deserve) or specific deterrance (putting murderers away).

TL;DR: The Hebrews were so wary of capital punishment that it looks more like a necessary evil rather than simple justice, so it's no wonder that there are so few instances in the Bible of someone being condemned to death, even though one of them was Christ himself.
 
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If ever, as recently proposed, we mandate release/decarceration of all federal prisoners -le.g. the likes of the Unabomber,, Oklahoma City Bomber, the Boston Marathon Bomber, etc. -without absolute certainty they will be remanded elsewhere, I will personally be in favor or returning to the traditional "God of primitive goatherders" mandate of Genesis 9:6.
Justice is not worthy of the word the day it ceases to protect the innocents, widows, orphans, and helpless of society. Mercy which does not protect the innocent is a cruel mercy.
Just my two cents.

Cf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Nichols

P. S. I see nothing wrong with a God of primitive goat herders per se. A God who wouldn't care about primitve goat herders probably wouldn't care about me.
 

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"Thou shalt not kill."
Or is it "Thou shalt not murder"?
It is murder rather than all killing that is proscribed by the sixth commandment.

“The sixth commandment forbids murder. The ethical theology that lies behind this prohibition is the fact that all men and women have been created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-26; 9:6). While Hebrew possesses seven words for killing, the word used here, rasah, appears only forty-seven times in the OT. If any one of the seven words could signify “murder” where the factors of premeditation and intentionality are present, this is the verb… Without exception, however, in later periods (e.g. Ps 94:6; Prov 22:13; Isa 1:21; Hos 4:2; 6:9; Jer 7:9) it carries the idea of murder with intentional violence. Every one of these instances stresses the act or allegation of premeditation and deliberateness –and that is what is at the heart of this verb. Thus this prohibition does not apply to beasts (Gen 9:3), to defending one’s home from night-time burglars (Ex22:2), to accidental killings (Deut 19:5), to the execution of murderers by the state (Gen 9:6); or to involvement with one’s nation in certain types of war as illustrated by Israel’s history. It does apply, however, to self-murder (i.e. suicide), to all accessories to murder (2 Sam 12:9), and to those who have authority but fail to use it to punish known murderers (1 Kings 21:19)” Kaiser, Walter C., Exodus, in Gaebelein, Frank E., ed., EBC, vol. 1, pp. 424f.
 

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Or is it "Thou shalt not murder"?
I do understand that "kill" means "murder".... in such a manner that killing in self-defense, etc. is permitted. Killing of animals for food, is permitted, etc.

However, in the killing of a human being via the death penalty in my understanding, is not permitted.

Who, but God, knows the heart of the accused?
Who can 100% know that the accused is truly guilty?
What if we allowed the accused, as vile a criminal as they might be, live in prison, and he/she might repent and find God? Is that not worth allowing them to live?

I agree in keeping society safe from known criminals. 100%. However, putting them to death, seems to me to be going against everything the Lord taught us.
 

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It is murder rather than all killing that is proscribed by the sixth commandment.

“The sixth commandment forbids murder. The ethical theology that lies behind this prohibition is the fact that all men and women have been created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-26; 9:6). While Hebrew possesses seven words for killing, the word used here, rasah, appears only forty-seven times in the OT. If any one of the seven words could signify “murder” where the factors of premeditation and intentionality are present, this is the verb… Without exception, however, in later periods (e.g. Ps 94:6; Prov 22:13; Isa 1:21; Hos 4:2; 6:9; Jer 7:9) it carries the idea of murder with intentional violence. Every one of these instances stresses the act or allegation of premeditation and deliberateness –and that is what is at the heart of this verb. Thus this prohibition does not apply to beasts (Gen 9:3), to defending one’s home from night-time burglars (Ex22:2), to accidental killings (Deut 19:5), to the execution of murderers by the state (Gen 9:6); or to involvement with one’s nation in certain types of war as illustrated by Israel’s history. It does apply, however, to self-murder (i.e. suicide), to all accessories to murder (2 Sam 12:9), and to those who have authority but fail to use it to punish known murderers (1 Kings 21:19)” Kaiser, Walter C., Exodus, in Gaebelein, Frank E., ed., EBC, vol. 1, pp. 424f.
What about Cain?
 

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I will personally be in favor or returning to the traditional "God of primitive goatherders" mandate of Genesis 9:6.
Genesis: 9 is interesting because it does *not* mention rasah/ratsach at all. In fact, this word doesn't appear in Genesis at all (though I'm not 100% certain about other forms); we have to wait until Exodus to read it. This suggests that the talk of blood is *not* being limited to murder. And, more importantly, this creates a problem for those "requiring" the blood: there is no exception carved out for them here, meaning it creates a cycle of blood-debt that cannot ever be broken. I look forward to hear your thoughts on this matter, particularly in the context of Patristic teaching.

Justice is not worthy of the word the day it ceases to protect the innocents, widows, orphans, and helpless of society. Mercy which does not protect the innocent is a cruel mercy.
Justice cannot be understood apart from the Cross. Jesus Christ did not come and beat up, lock up, or otherwise stop all those hurting the "innocents, widows, orphans, and helpless of society". Rather, he took their helplessness upon Himself, and ascended the Cross victoriously. Thus justice means something *very* different to the practicing Orthodox Christian, something that involves us taking upon the burden of the so-called perpetrator and victim both. We can't have an amorphous idea of God, and then project our own idea of justice upon Him as if He were a mere tool to see it carried out; St Isaac The Syrian hints at much the same thing, in one of the most famous saying attributed to him: "We know nothing of God's justice, only his mercy.".
 

xariskai

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In the killing of a human being via the death penalty in my understanding, is not permitted.
The death penalty has never been prohibited by the Church -or did you mean something else??
Compare Fr. John's brief overview at AncientFaith: https://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/amvon/war_capital_punishment_and_the_sixth_commandment

What if we allowed the accused, as vile a criminal as they might be, live in prison, and he/she might repent and find God? Is that not worth allowing them to live? I agree in keeping society safe from known criminals. 100%. .
I agree 100% given the above qualification.
This is also in essence the view of St. Augustine:
"St. Augustine, characterized the good Christian ruler as “slow to punish, but ready to pardon” (“City of God,” 5.24). He justified capital punishment when there was “no other established method of restraining the hostility of the desperate.” Then, he said, “perhaps extreme necessity would demand the killing of such people” (“Letter,” 134). Augustine recognized the state’s right to wield the sword, but he hoped that lethal use would be extremely rare. “As violence is used toward him who rebels and resists, so mercy is due to the vanquished or the captive, especially in the case in which future troubling of the peace is not to be feared” (“Letter,” 189).

"The same divine authority that forbids the killing of a human being establishes certain exceptions, as when God authorizes killing by a general law or when He gives an explicit commission to an individual for a limited time. The agent who executes the killing does not commit homicide; he is an instrument as is the sword with which he cuts. Therefore, it is in no way contrary to the commandment, 'Thou shalt not kill' to wage war at God's bidding, or for the representatives of public authority to put criminals to death, according to the law, that is, the will of the most just reason." St. Augustine, City of God, Book 1, Chapter 21
https://angelusnews.com/voices/the-early-church-and-the-death-penalty/
Genesis: 9 does *not* mention rasah/ratsach at all. In fact, this word doesn't appear in Genesis at all... This suggests that the talk of blood is *not* being limited to murder.
So you are claiming Gen 9:6 mandates execution for accidental killing, not just for murder, simply because the word rasah (and/or its cognates) is not used in Genesis? This would put the Law of Moses in the role of contradicting or violating Genesis 9:6, since the Law precludes any penalty of death in the case of accidental killings.

As far as I know no academic or traditional source has ever made this claim. Do you have a source for that claim or is that your own idea?

Early Jewish and Christian interpretation regarded the legal sections of the Pentateuch as formalizing the retributive principle of of Gen 9:6 rather than contradicting or reversing it.

Was there a law that punished men for having sex with their female slaves?
I can only speculate on this point until/unless I review the entire corpus; assuming the focus was on inheritance through the head of the household my guess would be no (please underscore guess).
 
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sestir

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This suggests that the talk of blood is *not* being limited to murder. And, more importantly, this creates a problem for those "requiring" the blood: there is no exception carved out for them here, meaning it creates a cycle of blood-debt that cannot ever be broken.
The word translated "require" is דרשׁ/ἐκζητέω with meanings like 'care for', 'consult', 'look after', 'search for (lost cattle)' — Deuteronomy 22:2. The idea that it, in connection with blood, would mean to kill, hinges heavily on a particular take on Genesis 42:22, where Benjamin's life isn't particularly precious because, with Joseph gone he is the only son Jacob had with Rachel, but rather he is about to get killed and that's it.

The other knob it hinges on appears to be Deuteronomy 12:30, where it looked like תִּנָּקֵשׁ 'shoot down, hit, strike' was translated ἐκζητήσῃς. Lust-Eynikel-Hauspie's lexicon of the LXX suggest this could instead be a textual variant, where the Old Greek would be based on Hebrew תבקשׁ 'seek, desire', a bayt being mistaken for a nun or vice versa.

If so, a textual variant, together with a bit of anxiousness, would have flipped Christianity's understanding of a rather important concept into nonsense. Can we flip it back?

An extra plus is it solves your cycle of blood-debt and means we won't have to prosecute animals for murder each time they eat each other.
 
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