Browsing by Author "Brown, Alease A."
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- ItemThe violence of Jesus and the justice of God : the life, death, resurrection, and Parousia of Jesus as exemplary of non-lethal violent resistance, and the implications for acts of protest by the subaltern(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2019-04) Brown, Alease A.; Forster, Dion Angus; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology. Dept. of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Non-violence in personal and political life has become an unassailable pillar upon which the Christian church leans. The New Testament text, church tradition, and cultural mores converge in establishing non-violence as the pre-eminent mark of those who would be faithful followers of Christ. However, in a context where violence is embedded in the social order, the ethos of non-violence as an end goal in itself generally fails to aid the Christian, particularly the Black Christian, in the task of honouring one’s dignity and the dignity of one’s neighbour. With respect to the use of physical force during protest, it gags on the gnat of damaged property, and swallows the camel of degraded lives. This ethos is inconsistent with the Gospel of Jesus, which has foremost concern for the abundant life of the person. I do not assert in this project that Jesus promoted the use of force, or that Jesus opposed the use of force. I argue that the issue of the use of force was not as central to the teachings of Jesus as the tradition has made it. Ultimately, Jesus’s ethics allows for either the use of force or the non-use of force; with freedom for the choice of action depending upon the person and the circumstances. Jesus’s utmost concern was the internalization and assertion of one’s human dignity, not as an approved of member of the citizenry, but as a child of God. The goal of this research is to shine a light on the violence that goes unnamed that is perpetrated against Black being in ways that debilitate and destroy life. Being raced as Black is to be always already violently acted upon, and also to be made a threat or perpetrator of violence by virtue of being. Until Blackness becomes the centre of theologies of (non)violence, such theologies will remain incomplete, and operate in complicity with the violence of the culture against Black life. This study accomplishes several tasks. First, it examines biblical texts that are often used to establish that Jesus was principally concerned with non-violence and with the necessity of suffering. Using an honour/shame paradigm, it demonstrates the misreading of such texts, and offers an alternative understanding based upon the first century context. Such an alternative reading constitutes “good news” to those in perpetually unjust social orders that establish and maintain racialized dishonour and marginalization of many. Second, the study assesses Church history as to how non-violence has been conceived and practiced from the church’s origin to the present. The research concludes that the language and idea of non-violence has been mutable. Further, the research discloses that there has never been a period when the coercive use of force has been fully delegitimized by the church. Third, having exposed scripture and tradition’s de-emphasis on (non)violence, the research then considers the meaning of “violence,” and uses the heuristic of Afropessimism to demonstrate the existential violence inherent to Black life. I argue that because violence functions perennially in an existential way against Black persons, the good news of the Gospel must address violence, primarily, in an existential way, such as the reading I have offered, which privileges Jesus’s concern for the dignity and self-actualization of despised persons. Relying upon Duns Scotus’ metaphysics of the will, I show the nature of the impairment to Black human will/freedom/life that occurred over centuries as a result of anti-Black torture and social control. I then demonstrate, with South Africa as a case study, the ways in which forceful protest is evidence of a repairing or properly operative human will. Such protest is not a moral wrong but reflects the resilient re-animation of the impaired will of Black humanity. Such protest incarnates the healing, liberative, resurrecting, good news of the Gospel.