This collection, by leading legal scholars, judges and practitioners, together with theologians and church historians, presents historical, theological, philosophical and legal perspectives on Christianity and criminal law. 

Following a Preface by Lord Judge, formerly Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, and an introductory chapter, the book is divided into four thematic sections. Part I addresses the historical contributions of Christianity to criminal law drawing on biblical sources, early church fathers and canonists, as far as the Enlightenment. Part II, titled Christianity and the principles of criminal law, compares crime and sin, examines concepts of mens rea and intention, and considers the virtue of due process within criminal justice. Part III looks at Christianity and criminal offences, considering their Christian origins and continuing relevance for several basic crimes that every legal system prohibits. Finally, in Part IV, the authors consider Christianity and the enforcement of criminal law, looking at defences, punishment and forgiveness.

The book will be an invaluable resource for students and academics working in the areas of Law and Religion, Legal Philosophy and Theology.

chapter 1|10 pages


part I|86 pages

Historical contributions of Christianity to criminal law

chapter 2|18 pages

Criminal law in the Old Testament

Homicide, the problem of mens rea and God

chapter 4|15 pages

Crime and the canon law

chapter 5|18 pages


Christian reasons for punishment: an overview

part II|54 pages

Christianity and the principles of criminal law

chapter 7|17 pages

The nature of sin and crime

Spiritual and civil jurisdictions compared

part III|100 pages

Christianity and criminal offences

chapter 12|16 pages

Law like love like language

The Christian uses of property crime

chapter 14|18 pages

Sex crimes and Christianity

part IV|98 pages

Christianity and the enforcement of criminal law