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In die Skriflig

On-line version ISSN 2305-0853
Print version ISSN 1018-6441


STRAUSS, P.J.. Points of departure for the state in the Institutes of Calvin compared with points of departure of the South African Bill of Rights (1996). In Skriflig (Online) [online]. 2010, vol.44, n.2, pp.317-332. ISSN 2305-0853.

In the last chapter of his "Institutes" the reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) concentrates on points of departure for the state and on the task of the state government. Calvin is strongly influenced by the Bible and sees the state government as being ordained by God to exercise justice in society. For him justice and fairness should be the norm for every law created by the state. The South African "Bill of Rights" is regarded as the highest law in the country. To prevent chaos or people exercising the law wrongly, the Constitution with the "Bill of Rights" in the final instance should be interpreted by the Constitutional Court. This makes South Africa a just state or a society governed by the constitution or law. Although Calvin, like the "Bill of Rights", has a feeling for justice to all, he and the Bill part company on the important issue that the state should be seen as a servant of God.

Keywords : government: legitimised by God and not by the majority of people; laws of the state should be fair and reasonable; points of departure for Calvin differ from Bill of Rights; state government: a servant of God.

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