Walter Benjamin on Divine Violence


Divine violence, an idea set out in Walter Benjamin’s early essay “Critique of Violence,” is violence undertaken by a sovereign individual, a strike at power, an attempt at the dissolution of the law in favor of justice, a decision that reaffirms the sovereignty of the self against the coercive violence of the law. In order to understand the category of “divine violence,” it is critical to understand the other kinds of violence that Benjamin discusses in the essay.

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