Ordeal Law and Legal Definition

Ordeal refers to a primitive form of trial in which an accused person was subjected to a dangerous or painful physical test. The participants of this trial believed that God will reveal the guilt or innocence of the accused and protect an innocent person from torture. Several forms of ordeal were recognized by the early Christian church such as fire ordeal and water ordeal. Fire ordeal is an ordeal in which an accused person is forced to hold a piece of hot metal or to walk barefoot across a hot surface and his/her innocence or guilt depends on how quickly his/her hands or feet are healed. Whereas, guilt or innocence of an accused is determined by how quickly his/her arms are healed after placing the same in boiling water.