Tractate Sanhedrin, Herbert Danby tr. , at sacred-texts.com
M.VII. 1. The court had the power of inflicting four kinds of death penalty: stoning, burning, decapitation, and strangulation. R. Shimeon gives them in the order: 3 burning, stoning, strangulation, and decapitation. The regulations for those to be stoned have already been given.
M.VII. 2. The regulations for those to be burnt: the criminal is placed in dung up to his knees, and round his neck is arranged a wrap of coarse
M.material enclosed within one of soft; the ends of the wrap are pulled on both sides until the criminal opens his mouth; a thin bar of lead is heated and tossed into his mouth, and this goes down to his stomach and inflames his entrails.
R. Jehuda says: Even if he die so in their hands, they have not yet carried out the regulations of burning: they must open his mouth with forceps against his will, 1 heat the leaden bar, and toss it into his mouth; this goes down to his stomach and inflames his entrails.
R. Eleazar, the son of Zadok, said: It happened in the case of a priest's daughter 2 who had committed adultery, that she was surrounded with faggots and in that manner burnt. But it was replied: The court at that time did not possess accurate knowledge.
M.VII. 3a. The regulations for those to be decapitated: their heads are cut off with a sword after the usage of the (Roman) Empire.
R. Jehuda said: Such a death is too shameful; on the contrary, a man's head is placed on the block and cut off with an axe. But it was replied: There is no death more shameful than this.
To this it was replied: There is no death more disgraceful than this; moreover such should not be done since it is written: IN THEIR ORDINANCES YE SHALL NOT WALK. 2
M.VII. 3b. The regulations for those to be strangled: 3 the criminal is placed in dung up to his knees; and round his neck is arranged a wrap of coarse material enclosed within one of soft; the ends of the scarf are pulled on both sides until life is extinct.
93:3 In descending order of severity.
93:4 Decollatio was not the only death penalty in use at the time in the Roman Empire: see Tac. Ann. ii. 32; Suetonius, Nero 49, Claud. 34.
94:1 R. Jehuda's amendment is to avoid the possibility of death taking place by strangulation.
94:2 Lev. 21. 9.
95:1 Lev. 19. 18.
95:2 Lev. 18. 3. But according to the Mishnah already quoted the correct method was "after the usage of the Roman Empire." In the Cod. Vienna and Venice ed. the difficulty is partly avoided by the reading, "He (R. Jehuda) said to them: And though there be no more disgraceful death, still it is written 'And in their ordinances, etc.'"
95:3 This Rabbinic penalty is applied mentioned those criminals for the decreed in the Pentateuch without specifying the mode of death. In regard to these it is argued (B. 52b, 53a) that since the Law must not be construed with severity, the most lenient form of death, a. e. strangulation, must be applied. Another line of argument is: Sometimes "death at the hands of Heaven" is ordained (Gen. 38. 7, 10; Lev. 10. 7, 9); and as death from Heaven leaves no visible marks, so must the death inflicted by the tribunal leave no mark. And such is only possible by death from strangulation.