Johannes Calvyn oor die aard van en remedies teen tirannieke regering: Griekse, Romeinse en Middeleeuse aanknopingspunteke


  • Andries Raath Navosingsgenoot, Departement Publiekreg, Universiteit van die Vrystaat


John Calvin on the nature of and remedies for tyrannical government: Greek, Roman and Medieval points of Contact

John Calvin’s views on political tyranny did not differ in any material respects from the Greek and Roman definitions. However, Calvin’s theocentric approach to tyranny brought a distinct deviation from the ancient Greek and Roman views on the remedies against political tyranny. John Calvin’s mature views on tyrannical government are fundamentally Biblically grounded. In his commentaries on 1 Peter 2:14 Calvin observes that there never was, and we could not think of tyranny so cruel and unlimited in which there was not some sort of equity, and that God does not permit that this order should so be overthrown by the wickedness of men that we should not perceive some traces of it. In his sermons on Daniel he states that whatever excesses there may be with princes, still the goodness of God surmounts them so that He does not altogether allow that the polities and ordinances that He has instituted should be thrown into confusion. In his sermons on 1 Timothy he places further emphasis on the view that even when tyrants dominate and there are grave corruptions, yet it is more tolerable than if there were no order: if we put in the balance one tyrant or several, who exercise every form of cruelty, who pillage some and murder others and who commit many other serious wickednesses under the guise of justice; on the other hand, let us put a people who have no chief, no magistrate, no authority, but are all equal: it is certain that there will be graver and more horrible confusion when there will be no pre-eminence than there will be with the most exorbitant tyranny in the world. Because political tyranny is a manifestation in the public sphere, the only institutions for remedying the transgressions of tyrants are the people’s representative institutions. Although Calvin followed the classical Greek and Roman views on the nature of tyranny, he supported the milder remedies to rectify political tyranny.





How to Cite

Raath, A. (2023). Johannes Calvyn oor die aard van en remedies teen tirannieke regering: Griekse, Romeinse en Middeleeuse aanknopingspunteke . Tydskrif Vir Christelike Wetenskap | Journal for Christian Scholarship, 58(3&4), 25 - 56. Retrieved from

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