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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

versión On-line ISSN 2412-4265
versión impresa ISSN 1017-0499


MATIKITI, Robert. Violence in early Christian writings: Lessons for Christians in independent Zimbabwe. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2014, vol.40, n.2, pp.1-18. ISSN 2412-4265.

This work seeks to uncover the way in which the Church fathers have wrestled theologically with the ambivalent perspectives on violence. The early Christians, who took very seriously the injunction that they were not to take up the sword, refused to serve in the Roman armies for centuries. In essence, this work entails an historical enquiry as a basis for analysing the attitude of contemporary Christians to political violence in Zimbabwe. In the first two centuries, the problem of violence for Christians was treated as an appendage in the writings of the Church Fathers. Consequently, information about what Christians actually thought about the matter is derived from general comments on war and indirect references, which tell us little about the way in which the use of force can be reconciled in an individual's conscience with the Gospel. The article seeks to trace early Church perspectives on violence in order to find out whether the Christian attitude to politically motivated violence in Zimbabwe has its roots in church history.

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