War and Violence in Christian Ethics

REL606
Spring 2018
Th 3:30-5:20pm
Area: 
Area II, Area V
Professor: 
Permission Required
Limited Enrollment
Course Description: 

This course asks about the just and unjust use of violence. At every turn we will seek to discern how Christian commitment (or its absence) makes a difference for how the use of violence is conceived and justified. Our inquiry will fall into three parts. (i) We will chart the transformation of “the just war tradition” from its fourth-century origins in the thought of St. Augustine to its secularization in the modern period, before (ii) doubling back on the eschatological pacifism that was assumed in the pre-Constantinian church, that reemerged in the political theology of the Anabaptists, and that has been defended in recent years by John Howard Yoder and Stanley Hauerwas. Finally, we will (iii) consider some contemporary disputes over the substance and application of these rival traditions in the emerging age of robotic warfare and horror. Special emphasis throughout is given to current armed conflicts, especially in the Middle East.

Background Expected: 

REL 615 or strong background in theological and/or philosophical disciplines.

Course Requirements: 

To pass this course you must: (1) attend class and participate in a weekly discussion section, which (2) you must initiate on at least one occasion [10%]; (3) submit one question per week to the online discussion forum [15%]; (4) complete two 7-10 page papers or one 15-20 page paper [75%].

Basis of Evaluation: 

See above.