‘Pagan’ Violence and Augustinian Peace
Keywords:peace, violence, law of love, Augustine
This article explores the idea of violence and peace in Christian theology. In particular, it considers the idea of violence as comprised of antagonism and alienation, and ultimately a ‘pagan’ celebration of war and death. Even the famed pax Romana is itself the violent suppression of violence. Drawing on Augustine, the article contrasts this ‘pagan’ violence with the Christian idea of ontological peace—the harmonious ordering and fellowship of difference between God and humanity, or what John Milbank calls ‘the reconciliation of virtue with difference’. Though this Christian critique is historically situated, it creates an opportunity to reconceptualise our modern legal system so that we may move from a liberal atomistic individualism to a more harmonious community of being, governed by ‘the law of love’.
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