Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Corporal Punishment in the Bible

William Webb has just written a book about smacking. Thomas Schreiner summarises: 
If we truly followed what the OT teaches about corporal punishment, according to Webb, our “discipline” would be much more severe. He insists, for example, that those who spank can’t (if they truly follow the OT) apply age limitations or limit the number of “smacks.” Webb appeals to the overlap between corporal punishment texts and cases in which slaves or those who violated the law were punished (Exod. 21:20-21; Deut. 25:1-3). It is clear from these comparative texts, Webb argues, that punishment of children was much more severe than those who advocate spanking today would tolerate. Nor can we apply spankings to the buttocks alone, for we see in Proverbs (e.g.,Prov. 10:13; 19:29; 26:3) that fools were struck on the back. Furthermore, bruises and welts were inflicted on slaves and criminals, and hence those who favor spanking today are inconsistent when they claim spanking should not leave marks on children.
To read Schreiner's evaluation of this argument click here.

HT: Justin Taylor

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