The End of Sacrifice: The Capital Punishment Writings of John Howard Yoder

Book, 2011, 287 pp
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NOTE: In troubling contrast to his work, we know that John Howard Yoder’s life was seriously flawed by acts of sexual violence against many women. Although his writings on nonviolence continue to be influential, we acknowledge that Yoder was, ironically and tragically, perpetuating violence, over many decades, in his private life. No reading or interpretation of Yoder can be done faithfully without understanding the extensive harmful legacy he has also left.

For more information, see Rachel Waltner Goossen’s research, published in Mennonite Quarterly Review, entitled “Defanging the Beast”.

Since the death of Jesus brought a decisive end to all sacrifices for sin, Yoder argues, Christians should proclaim its abolition and death penalty advocates should no longer claim biblical validation. In doing so, Yoder also makes a persuasive case for proactive Christian witness to the state. Yoder calls the church to proclaim the end of sacrifice to public officials who are responsible to administer capital punishment.

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