Swaardmag en lyding - oor die reformatoriese perspektief op staatsgeweld


The power of the sword and suffering: on the Reformational view of state violence. The nature of violence demands, as a general norm, a basic objection to violence. Special circumstances may, however, allow for the legitimation of violence. This position is abolished in the legitimist view of violence which justifies, per definition, the violence of people in positions of authority. The metaphysics grounding such a move implies, inter alia, Platonic ontologised ideas or realism which gives a timeless, supernatural, unchangeable position to the power of the sword. Although the Reformational position seems to be legitimistic in nature, this tradition does not use a Platonic realism and therefore does not elevate state violence to a timeless structural moment of the state. It is also argued that state violence should get an underemphasized position within the structure for the state: although the power of the sword is given to the state for functional reasons, it does not mean the state can not, and indeed should dispose of the power of the sword if circumstances permit. Lastly, it is also argued that the apparent tension between the basic objection to violence and legitimized violence can only be resolved in some higher ideal like the biblical concept of redemption as restoration.


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