Religion Past and Present

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Resistance, Right of
(2,921 words)

[German Version]

I. History

Ever since classical antiquity, the theory of resistance and the right of resistance have been linked inseparably to the understanding of sovereignty and its limits in both civil society and the church.


In the Germanic tribal kingdom of Western, Central, and Northern Europe, three overlapping legal concepts legitimated a right of resistance: (1) the conviction that the ruler is not above the law but subject to the law (grounded in the tradition of the adm…

Cite this page
Link, Christoph, de Wall, Heinrich and Reuter, Hans-Richard, “Resistance, Right of”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 16 May 2021 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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