Gabe Stutman: “Nat Turner’s Divine Violence”

‘If there’s any lesson to be learned from Nat Turner and his legacy it’s that not all forms of violence are created equal, and in fact certain forms of violence are inevitable. … But through the lens of political theology, like the work of Walter Benjamin, one sees Turner’s Messianic visions not as mania, but as part of a coherent political project. One might view his identification with the deity not as pathology, but as making use of theological concepts; as insight. One may then see the Turner revolt not as a mild catastrophe, but as an act of divine violence. We can understand Nat Turner not as a “madman” but as a Benjaminian Messiah.’