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Just War Theory, the Authorization of the State, and the Hermeneutics of Peoplehood: How John Howard Yoder can save Oliver O'Donovan from himself

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Abstract: 

The different responses of Oliver O'Donovan and John Howard Yoder to the question of the political implications of the New Testament's proclamation of the lordship of Jesus Christ are reducible to their different analyses of how the cross defines the meaning of the mediatorial and representative roles which met in him. Furthermore, this difference grounds their very different responses to the question of what form the Christian counter-praxis of peace must take in the face of conflict. This article will argue that O'Donovan's authorization of secular authority to mediate God's judgements is the product of an ontology that rules out beforehand both the possibility that Jesus' death is decisive for understanding his mediatorial representation and, as a result, the possibility that the task set before the church is to model alternatives to the state based on its acquaintance with its own practices of reconciliation and discernment.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: McMaster University, Department of Religious Studies, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4K1, Canada.

Publication date: October 1, 2006

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