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Stellenbosch Theological Journal

On-line version ISSN 2413-9467
Print version ISSN 2413-9459


SCHOLTZ, Leopold. "Overcome evil with good" - Romans 12:21 through the eyes of an historian. STJ [online]. 2018, vol.4, n.1, pp.387-409. ISSN 2413-9467.

Romans 12:9-21, and especially verse 21, lies at the heart of Christian ethics. Paul's idea that evil should be overcome with good, is often criticised as naïve. In this article, the author - not a theologian, but an historian - analyses five dates, namely 1871, 1919, 1940, 1945 and 1949. These involved especially Germany, France, Britain, America and the Soviet Union. A common feature of the first four is that they all contain evil done by one country to another. They are then followed by vengeance, which include even more severe evil. This escalation resulted in Europe by 1945 being transformed into a smoking ruin. In the period immediately afterwards, several statesmen - including Konrad Adenauer (Germany), Charles de Gaulle and Robert Schuman (France) and president Harry Truman (USA) - realised that the cycle of injustice and vengeance had to be stopped. This resulted in 1949 in (West) Germany being readmitted to the Western democratic international society. These examples prove that Paul was not so naïve when he counselled that vengeance belonged to God.

Keywords : St. Paul; Letter to the Romans; Sermon on the Mount; Otto von Bismarck; Adolf Hitler; Georges Clemenceau; Jan Smuts; Robert Schuman; Charles de Gaulle; Konrad Adenauer; vengeance.

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