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Versoening / Reconciliation

“The RDP of the Soul”, geweld, vergelding, toleransie en Paulus se appèl om moed te hou

A G van Aarde

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 29, No 3 (2008), 708-727. doi: 10.4102/ve.v29i3.39

Submitted: 20 June 2008
Published:  17 November 2008


“The RDP of the Soul”, violence, revenge, tolerance and Paul’s appeal for endurance

This article links up with both the Fourth Nelson Mandela Commemorative Lecture presented by the previous President of the Republic of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, in 2006, titled the “RDP of the Soul” and with the book of Dr Richard Burridge (King’s College, University of London), Imitating Jesus, in which he shows how biblical ethics has shaped South Africans’ lives since colonialism, apartheid and post- and neo-colonialism. The article argues that moral leadership by the Christian faith community in South Africa which combats violence by rising up in compassion against injustice can counter-balance the spiralling out of retaliation through revenge. The article describes tolerance in terms of the Pauline concept of endurance and the internalisation of hope for the future. Perseverance despite suffering is seen as the contents of tolerance in the midst of aggressive opposition against the essence of life experienced in terms of an individual’s thinking, willing and feeling. The article is a reworked version of a bilingual commemorative public lecture in English and Afrikaans presented on the occasion of the University of Pretoria’s centenary celebration and is dedicated to Professor Dr P J G Meiring, a member of the Commission of Peace and Reconciliation in South Africa.

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Author affiliations

A G van Aarde, Universiteit van Pretoria



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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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