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Murphy essay published by Cambridge
Murphy essay published by Cambridge University Press
Regents' Professor Jeffrie G. Murphy
An essay by Jeffrie G. Murphy, Regents' Professor of Law, Philosophy & Religious Studies at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, has been published in a new book by Cambridge University Press.
Murphy's "Christian love and criminal punishment" is featured in the book,
Christianity and Law: An Introduction
, edited by John Witte Jr., Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University, and Frank S. Alexander, Professor of Law at Emory University and the Center's Founding Director.
The focus of Murphy's essay is to explore criminal law and the practice of criminal punishment from a perspective of Christian love.
"We know from popular culture and music that `love makes the world go round,' that `love conquers all,' and that `all we need is love,'" he writes. "One might thus find it both interesting and puzzling to consider how, if at all, that value can consistently sit with the law - particularly criminal law, which often seems a very harsh and unloving institution."
Murphy's writing centers on the nature of forgiveness, as it relates to criminal law and criminal justice. He distinguishes forgiveness from the concepts of justification, excuse, mercy and reconciliation and makes the case that forgiveness can be compatible with punishment.
He also addresses love and the death penalty, asserting that agape love is consistent with the death penalty in principle but probably not in actual practice. He closes by quoting Ezekiel 33:11: "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked should turn from his way and live."