Digest of terms

peace

greatly desirable state of harmony, referred to as such cross culturally and across the centuries. It is represented in Hebrew by 'shalom',Latin by 'pax', Greek by 'eirene' and Arabic by 'salaam'. As with war, there are cold and hot versions. Or if not 'cold peace', then a condition of being 'cool' and quiet. And if not 'hot peace', then a condition of vibrant mutuality. The condition is certainly not one of dullness.

Biblical perspectives are not naive regarding the ease with which it can be achieved. For instance, Jeremiah warns against announcing it when it has not yet been realised and, instead, abusive corruption lurks beneath the social surface (Jer: 6:14). The words of Jesus also make it very clear that such are the demands of the gospel that it too can lead to social disharmony. Nevertheless, the 'communion of saints' found in the early church in Jerusalem (Acts 2:42-7) and prized in the official creeds, or again the Reformation notion of 'commonwealth', all celebrate the desirability of generalised human friendship and with justice bringing an end to violence.

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