HTS Theological Studies
On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
Print version ISSN 0259-9422
VAN AARDE, Andries. Paul's version of "turning the other cheek": rethinking violence and tolerance. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2008, vol.64, n.4, pp.1667-1697. ISSN 2072-8050.
The aim of this article is to argue that Paul's denunciation of vengeance should be seen as the outcome of a personal transformation from an apocalyptic destructive thinking with regard to those who irate him to a state of mind of tolerance and eventually to the "internalization of eschatological hope". Instead of rebuking Paul prayed for those who heap burning coals upon his head. This disposition is seen as another version of the Jesus-tradition regarding the turning of the left cheek when an evildoer strikes one on the right one. The article explains Paul's version and his change in attitude with regard to violence in terms of René Girard's scapegoat theory and Paul's rhetoric of mimesis which he consistently conveyed from his first letter to the Thessalonians through his last letter, written to the Romans. For Paul, Jesus Christ forms the model. It is Paul's gospel about the participation of Jesus' exemplary conduct, vis à vis violence that was executed against him, which constitutes the transformative framework of overcoming evil with good.