John Howard Yoder (1927-1997), who was a professor at Notre Dame University and Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, was one of the 20th century's leading theologians. Scholars continue to study his writings on pacifism and other subjects.
The End of Sacrifice brings together four decades of Yoder's published and unpublished writings on capital punishment. He engaged in sophisticated biblical, sociological, and historical analysis in order to demonstrate that from ancient society until today capital punishment is an inherently cultic sacrificial rite. Since the death of Jesus brought a decisive end to all sacrifices for sin, Yoder argues, Christians should proclaim the abolition of the death penalty. Its advocates should no longer claim biblical validation.
In doing so, Yoder also makes a persuasive case for proactive Christian witness to the state. He calls the church to proclaim the end of sacrifice to public officials who are responsible for carrying out capital punishment.
"John Howard Yoder was unique in how he brings together both the biblical and sociological roots of the practice of capital punishment. Many Christian works focus on the former, whereas other works focus exclusively on the latter." --John C. Nugent