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Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Pacifism, Just War, and Peacebuilding

Author: 
Lisa Sowle Cahill (Author)
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Description

This book is a contribution to the Christian ethics of war and peace. It advances peacebuilding as a needed challenge to and expansion of the traditional framework of just-war theory and pacifism. It builds on a critical reading of historical landmarks from the Bible through Augustine, Aquinas, the Reformers, Christian peace movements, and key modern figures like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Reinhold Niebuhr, and recent popes. Similar to just-war theory, peacebuilding is committed to social change and social justice but includes some theorists and practitioners who accept the use of force in extreme cases of self-defense or humanitarian intervention. Unlike just-war theorists, they do not see the justification of war as part of the Christian mission. Unlike traditional pacifists, they do see social change as necessary and possible and, as such, requiring Christian participation in public efforts.


Cahill argues that transformative Christian social participation is demanded by the gospel and the example of Jesus, and can produce the avoidance, resolution, or reduction of conflicts. And yet obstacles are significant, and expectations must be realistic. Decisions to use armed force against injustice, even when they meet the criteria of just war, will be ambiguous and tragic from a Christian perspective. Regarding war and peace, the focus of Christian theology, ethics, and practice should not be on justifying war but on practical and hopeful interreligious peacebuilding.

ISBN: 
9781506431659
Price: 
$34.00
ISBN: 
9781506457796
Price: 
$31.99
Release date: 
March 2, 2019
Pages: 
380
Width: 
6
Height: 
9

Endorsements

This will be, and rightly so, the book on the Christian ethics of war and peace

"As Lisa Sowle Cahill correctly notes, over the past quarter-century, a lot has happened in the world, in theological ethics, and in our own lives and work, leading to the need for this present, and most welcome contribution from her, Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Pacifism, Just War, and Peacebuilding. Impartial in its treatment of various perspectives, integrating in its synthesis of apparently diverging approaches, imaginative in its opening of spaces for further efforts, and inspirational in its comprehensive call to be peacemakers—this will be, and rightly so, the book on the Christian ethics of war and peace.” 

Tobias Winright | Hubert Mäder Endowed Chair of Health Care Ethics, St. Louis University

Moves practical peacebuilding to the central place in the Christian ethics of war

“This masterful work does many things well. At one level it offers a critical historical review of two millennia of Christian thought about war and peace. At another level it elevates the concept of irreducible moral dilemmas to a more central place in the ethics of war. Most importantly, it moves practical peacebuilding to the central place in the Christian ethics of war, with numerous inspiring examples offered. Blessed Are the Peacemakers should become the starting point for the next generation of Christian moral reflection on this pivotal, perennial, issue.”

David P. Gushee | Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, Mercer University

This new book has all the strengths of its predecessor, and, in addition, it enriches and enlivens discourse about war and peace

Blessed Are the Peacemakers is a remarkable book. It provides clear and compelling analyses and assessments of major positions in Christian ethics toward war and peace. For many years, my graduate students in seminars on just war and pacifism greatly benefited from Cahill’s earlier Love Your Enemies. This new book has all the strengths of its predecessor, and, in addition, it enriches and enlivens discourse about war and peace by highlighting and promoting peacebuilding. I enthusiastically recommend it.” 

James F. Childress | John Allen Hollingsworth Professor of Ethics and Professor of Medical Education Emeritus, University of Virginia

One of the best introductions to a Christian theology of peacebuilding available

“One of the best introductions to a Christian theology of peacebuilding available. In her usual careful, thorough, and accessible style, Lisa Sowle Cahill points to the moral dilemmas involved in each of the positions in the traditional just war versus pacifism debate. She makes a passionate case for nonviolent peacebuilding as an alternative that best exemplifies what it means for Christians to be ambassadors of God’s peace, justice, and reconciliation in the world.”

Emmanuel Katongole | Professor of Theology and of Peace Studies, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame

This should be required reading for anyone interested in understanding the development of thought and practice away from the just-war/pacifist dichotomy, toward just peace

“Lisa Sowle Cahill’s important book provides a timely, clear, and constructive contribution to the theological and ethical debates concerning war and peace. She exposes the often downplayed, irreducible moral dilemmas that the traditional just-war and pacifist positions present, and offers just peacebuilding as a better way out of the moral bind. Cahill takes seriously the theology, practices, and agency of communities in the developing world, where most wars rage, grounding her just-peacebuilding approach in the possibilities for conflict transformation that these communities pursue and expand. This should be required reading for anyone interested in understanding the development of thought and practice away from the just-war/pacifist dichotomy, toward just peace."

Maryann Cusimano Love | Associate Professor of International Relations, The Catholic University of America, founding member Catholic Peacebuilding Network, Core Group U.S. Department of State Working Group on Religion and Foreign Policy