Tractate Sanhedrin, Herbert Danby tr. , at sacred-texts.com
M.I. 4. Capital cases are to be tried by twenty-three judges:--The two parties in an unnatural crime, by twenty-three, as it is written: 4 AND
M.[paragraph continues] THOU SHALT SLAY THE WOMAN AND THE BEAST, M. also: 1 AND THE BEAST YE SHALL SLAY; the ox subject to the penalty of stoning, 2 by twenty-three, as it is written: 3 THE OX SHALL BE STONED AND ITS MASTER ALSO SHALL BE PUT TO DEATH, master and ox suffer the like death; the lion, 4 the bear, the leopard, the panther and the serpent, 5 their death is to be determined by twenty-three. R. Eleazar 6 holds that it would be right for any one to put them to death at once (without trial), but R. Akiba maintains that their death is to he determined by twenty-three judges.
2. The ox subject to the penalty of stoning is to be tried by twenty-three, for it is written: THE OX SHALL BE STONED AND ITS MASTER ALSO SHALL BE PUT TO DEATH; as is the death of the master, so is the death of the ox. As the death of the master is by stoning and being thrown down and at the hands of twenty-three judges, so the death
3. What is the difference between the trial of the ox and the trial of the man? In the case of the ox they may begin the case on one day and finish the same night; or begin and finish the case during the same day, no matter whether they are arriving at a verdict of innocent or guilty; they may decide by a majority of one whether for conviction or acquittal; all may argue in favour either of conviction or acquittal; and he who had urged acquittal may change and urge conviction. 2 But in the case of the man, all such procedure is illegal.
36:4 Lev. 20. 16.
37:1 Lev. 20. 15.
37:2 Exod. 21. 28.
37:3 Exod. 21. 29.
37:4 Bomburg text adds: the wolf.
37:5 If, as in the case of the ox, they have caused death.
37:6 R. Eleazar hen Shamua; one of the important group of Rabbis, which includes R. Meir, R. Jose b. Halafta, R. Jehuda b. Il’ai, and R. Shimeon h. Jochai, all pupils of R. Akiba, and all figuring prominently in the shaping of the Mishnaic traditions.
38:1 See for the details of the death by stoning M. vi. 4 a.
38:2 That is, all the rules of procedure customary in capital trials are in abeyance. Cf. M. v. 1 ff.