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On the Death Penalty as Seen in the *Falü Dawen 法律答問 Manuscript from the Shuihudi 睡虎地 Qin Slips: A Discussion of the Terms Lu and Dingsha 定殺

睡虎地秦簡《法律答問》所見之死刑 — 有關 “戮” 與 “定殺” 的討論

In: Bamboo and Silk
Author:
Pui-ling Tang (鄧佩玲) School of Chinese, The University of Hong Kong (香港大學中文學院) Hong Kong (香港)

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Abstract

This paper presents a comprehensive discussion of the terms lu and dingsha 定殺 for the death penalty in the excavated legal document entitled *Falü dawen 法律答問 (Questions and Answers on Law) of the Shuihudi 睡虎地 slips. After a detailed philological and grammatical analysis, this paper argues that lu was a term for the death penalty by which mutilation was imposed on the offenders either before or after the executions. In this regard, the lu penalty was divided into shenglu 生戮 and silu 死戮. On the other hand, dingsha, also known as xingsha 刑殺 in received texts, belongs to a form of death penalty in which the offender was killed by drowning or being buried alive, and that these two procedures are identified in the manuscript as shengdingsha 生定殺 and shengmai 生埋 respectively.

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