Killing in the Name of the Lord


In Christian circles the tendency exists to deny that the cause of manslaughter and homicide may be due to the existence of a biblical based frame of orientation – indeed, that frame teaches respect for other persons’ lives. However, it is shown that the presence of such a frame may also lead to gruesome forms of manslaughter, usually represented by Christians as absolutely un-Christian, devilish, or heathen aberrations, worse than homicides committed out of pure hatred, aggression, or self-defence. The purpose of this article is, first, to present a typology of biblically inspired fatal crimes (or ‘reli-crimes’) as they occurred in the last two centuries in Europe, and, second, to present an interpretation of the relationship between religious imagination and representation on the one hand and atrocious forms of physical violence towards fellow human beings on the other.

How to Cite

Verrips, J., (1997) “Killing in the Name of the Lord”, Ethnologia Europaea 27(1), 29-45. doi:

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.


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Jojada Verrips (University of Amsterdam)



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