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


ByMark Hill

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
ByBrent A. Strawn

chapter 3|16 pages

Conflicting criminal jurisdictions in early Christianity

ByMarkus Bockmuehl

chapter 4|15 pages

Crime and the canon law

ByRH Helmholz

chapter 5|18 pages


Christian reasons for punishment: an overview
ByMathias Schmoeckel

chapter 6|17 pages

Christianity and the liberal enlightenment reforms of criminal law

ByHeikki Pihlajamäki

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
ByNorman Doe

chapter 8|17 pages

Christianity, mens rea and the boundaries of criminal liability

ByDavid McIlroy

chapter 9|18 pages

Christianity, human dignity and due process

ByPeter Collier

part III|100 pages

Christianity and criminal offences

chapter 10|17 pages

Christianity and crimes against the State

ByNathan S. Chapman

chapter 11|18 pages

Christianity and offences against the person

ByDavid Etherington

chapter 12|16 pages

Law like love like language

The Christian uses of property crime
ByJohn F. Stinneford

chapter 13|16 pages

Crimes against God and the Church

ByJeroen Temperman

chapter 14|18 pages

Sex crimes and Christianity

ByJohn Witte

chapter 15|13 pages

Attempts, complicity, virtue and the limits of law

ByRichard W. Garnett

part IV|98 pages

Christianity and the enforcement of criminal law

chapter 16|16 pages

Defences: justification, excuse and provocation

ByChloë Kennedy

chapter 17|14 pages

Punishment, forgiveness and mercy

ByJeffrie G. Murphy

chapter 18|18 pages

Justice, mercy and equality in discretionary criminal justice decision-making

ByAlbert W. Alschuler

chapter 19|13 pages

Parole, risk assessment of offenders and Christianity

BySir John Saunders

chapter 20|18 pages

Judicial punishment in transitional justice

A Christian restorative approach
ByDaniel Philpott

chapter 21|17 pages

The weight of judgment

ByNathan S. Chapman