Chapter

Temperata Severitas

Michael Gaddis

in There Is No Crime for Those Who Have Christ

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780520241046
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930902 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520241046.003.0005
Temperata Severitas

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This chapter uses Augustine's response to the Donatist problem as a starting point for a broader discussion of what is called a “disciplinary” paradigm of violent coercion, through which establishment authorities justify applying force to the disobedient “for their own good.” The events of the Tempora Macariana had demonstrated how easily the application of military force could lead to a bloodbath even when such had not been intended by the authorities. Augustine could see God's justice at work through the agency of temporal laws, despite the manifest imperfections and excesses of those laws. The hubris of establishment authorities who claimed to inflict violence in the best interests of their victims found its match in the equally arrogant certainty of extremists who identified their own hatreds with those of God.

Keywords: Augustine; Tempora Macariana; disciplinary violence; violent coercion; Donatist problem; military force; temporal laws

Chapter.  8768 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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