Many regions of the world whose histories include war and violent conflict have or once had strong ties to Orthodox Christianity. Yet policy makers, religious leaders, and scholars often neglect Orthodoxy’s resources when they reflect on the challenges of war.
Through essays written by prominent Orthodox scholars in the fields of biblical studies, church history, Byzantine studies, theology, patristics, political science, ethics, and biology, Orthodox Christian Perspectives on War presents and examines the Orthodox tradition’s nuanced and unique insights on the meaning and challenges of war with an eye toward their contemporary relevance. This volume is structured in three parts: “Confronting the Present Day Reality,” “Reengaging Orthodoxy’s Tradition,” and “Constructive Directions in Orthodox Theology and Ethics.” Each exemplifies the value of interdisciplinary reflection on “war” and the potential for the Eastern Orthodox tradition to enhance ecumenical and interfaith discussions surrounding war in both domestic and international contexts.
The contributors do not advance a single account of “the meaning of war” or a comprehensive and normative stance purporting to be “the Orthodox Christian teaching on war.” Instead, this collection presents the breadth and depth of Orthodox Christian thought in a way that engages Orthodox and non-Orthodox readers alike. In addition to offering fresh resources for all people of good will to understand, prevent, and respond faithfully to war, this book will appeal to Christian theologians who specialize in ethics, to libraries of academic institutions, and to scholars of war/peace studies, international relations, and Orthodox thought.
Contributors: Peter C. Bouteneff, George Demacopoulos, John Fotopoulos, Brandon Gallaher, Perry T. Hamalis, Valerie A. Karras, Alexandros K. Kyrou, Aristotle Papanikolaou, Elizabeth H. Prodromou, Nicolae Roddy, James C. Skedros, Andrew Walsh, and Gayle E. Woloschak.
“This book brings together a number of Orthodox perspectives that are timely, informative yet original, and constructive. Most theological treatments of the ethics of war are Catholic and Protestant, and Orthodox Christians offer a fascinating perspective that might stimulate imaginative thinking and chisel away at some impasses. The volume provides a wonderful springboard for a serious conversation to happen.” —Tobias Winright, Hubert Mäder Endowed Chair of Health Care Ethics, Saint Louis University
“Through essays by prominent Orthodox scholars across many fields, this collection presents and examines the Orthodox tradition’s nuanced and unique insights on the meaning and challenges of war with an eye toward their contemporary relevance.” —Publishers Weekly
“Orthodox Christian Perspectives on War makes an important contribution to the scholarly conversation on how Orthodoxy views the ethics of war and peace. Since it includes essays from a variety of scholars with expertise in various subdisciplines of religious studies and theology, this study stands alone as an integrated collection of diverse scholarly treatments of the subject matter.” —Philip LeMasters, McMurry University and St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary
"Orthodox Christian thought on the phenomenon of war remains largely unknown in the West, an imbalance that this path-breaking volume successfully amends. These twelve essays grapple with biblical, patristic, historical and theological sources, presenting critical insights through a diverse range of perspectives and methodologies. This volume will no doubt become the standard point of departure for subsequent scholarly discussions of this topic among Eastern Orthodox Christians, as well as for all those seeking meaningful and novel options in the endeavor to understand the complex and disturbing reality of war." —Rev. Maximos Constas, Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
"Protestants and Catholics are heirs to two traditions regarding war and peace—'Just War Theory' and 'Christian Pacifism.' While Eastern Orthodoxy has no systematic stance on war or military service, this collection demonstrates that it can cast new light on the debate, providing evidence of distinct approaches to the question and a critique of those who maintain that orthodox teaching can be subsumed under those developed by Western Christianity. Beyond a general consensus that no war is just but is at best a lesser evil, this book displays some surprising vantages." —Library Journal