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8753Re: A question about stoning

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  • Steve Farmer
    Aug 6, 2008
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      Trudy Kawami wrote, carrying over a discussion from the Indo-Eurasian
      Research List:

      > It is assumed in many quarters that stoning as a form of execution
      > has been used in the Near East, from "time immemorial." Is there
      > any evidence for this outside of Biblical texts?

      Jeffry Gibson responded:

      > Not, so far as I can see, according to the article in "punishment"
      > in the Anchor Bible Dictionary. Stoning seems to be solely an
      > "Israelite" practice.

      Actually stoning was a common Greek method of punishment too,
      although it isn't clear the Persians used it. If you look at the
      following study of punishment methods in "democratic" Athens by
      Danielle Allen (Princeton U. Press, 2000) under "stoning", you'll
      find references in Homer, Herodotus, Xenophon, various Greek
      tragedians, etc. The passages are worth checking out in detail, since
      the methods of stoning used were often unique -- and quite ritualized:

      http://tinyurl.com/5gxp3l

      See also this classic article from 1907, available from JSTOR:

      http://tinyurl.com/69m7k6
      Arthur Stanley Pease, "Notes on Stoning among the Greeks and Romans",
      Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological
      Association, Vol. 38, (1907), pp. 5-18

      Famous passage on the stoning of Lycidas and his wife and family in
      Herodotus 9.5; Lycidas made the mistake of speaking of surrender to
      the Persians; the Athenians:

      > ...made a ring round Lycidas and stoned him to death. Murychides
      > the Hellespontian, however, they permitted to depart unharmed.
      > There was much noise at Salamis over the business of Lycidas; and
      > when the Athenian women learned what was afoot, one calling to
      > another and bidding her follow, they went on their own own to the
      > house of Lycidas and stoned to death his wife and his children.
      >

      Nothing on waterboarding, alas, which is a specialty in the
      "democratic" US.

      Steve Farmer
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