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The Reward Of Sin

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that the distinction between medieval outlawry and post-Reformation capital punishment is small. A person sentenced to outlawry for serious sexual crimes could obtain a measure of the kings mercy, via the institution landsvist. The medieval institutions outlawry and landsvist enjoyed a long life in Norwegian legislation. From the post-Reformation sixteenth century there are still examples where rapists, adulterers who ran away, and people guilty of incest were either sentenced to outlawry or at least called outlaws. The Landslaw connects the punishment of the culprit to the purging of the country. It is possible to discern certain continuity in the fear that God might punish human society if the sinner was not sentenced and if the traces of the sinful act did not disappear.

Keywords: adultery; death penalty; medieval outlawry; post-Reformation capital punishment; sinful act



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