TH 535-01 Ethics OF WAR AND PEACEMAKING
Boston College, Fall, 2002
Monday and Wednesday, 3-4:15
David Hollenbach, S.J.
Office hours: Mon. and Wed., 4:30 to 5:30 and by appointment.
The syllabus for this course, including links to electronic readings on the syllabus, is available on this webpage. The webpage also includes other links related to the course.
Teaching assistant: Gerald Beyer
Books marked * are available in the BC bookstore and will be on reserve in O’Neill Library. These books are:
Lisa Cahill, Love Your Enemies. Fortress Press. ISBN: 0-8006-2700-8
Walter Wink, The Powers that Be: Theology for a New Millennium.
Doubleday, 1999. ISBN: 0-385-48752-5
John Kelsay, Islam and War: A Study in Comparative Ethics. \
Westminster/John Knox. ISBN: 0-664-25302-4
Gregory Baum and Harold Wells,eds., The Reconciliation of Peoples: Challenge to the Churches. Orbis Books ISBN: 1-57075-107-2
John Paul Lederach, Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies, United states Institute of Peace, ISBN 1-878379-73-9
Mary B. Anderson, Do No Harm : How Aid Can Support Peace-Or War, Lynne Rienner Publishers, ISBN: 1-55587-834-2
Readings marked + are in a package of photocopied readings available in the BC bookstore and on reserve in O’Neill Library. These readings are:
J. Bryan Hehir, "Just War Theory in a Post-Cold War World," Journal of Religious Ethics 20/2 (Fall, 1992), 237-257.
Arthur Holmes, ed., War and Christian Ethics, Baker Book House, 1975, pp. 39-54, 61-83; 88-117, 140-189, 226-238, 301-313.
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, vol III (Christian Classics, 1981),
Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars. Basic Books. chap. 4, pp. 51-73.
Paul Kennedy and Bruce Russett, "Reforming the United Nations," Foreign Affairs, September/October 1995, pp. 56-71.
Henry A. Kissinger, "The Pitfalls of Universal Jurisdiction," Foreign Affairs, July/August 2001, pp.86-96.
Kenneth Roth "The Case For Universal Jurisdiction," Foreign Affairs, September/October 2001, pp. 150-154.
Syllabus9/4 Introduction: overview of the course
Read as background: John Paul Lederach, Building Peace:
Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies, chap. 1.
A. Biblical and pacifist stances
9/9 Contemporary Christian debates about nonviolence and use of force.
*Lisa Cahill, Love Your Enemies, chap 1
J. Bryan Hehir, "Just War Theory in a Post-Cold War World," Journal of
Religious Ethics 20/2 (Fall, 1992), 237-257. Distributed in class.
9/11 Biblical foundations
Selected biblical texts: Exodus 3, Matthew 5-7, Psalm 85. Distributed in
*Cahill, Love Your Enemies chap. 2
9/16 Early Christian pacifist approaches
*Cahill, Love Your Enemies chap. 3
+Arthur Holmes, ed., War and Christian Ethics, pp. 39-54 (selections from
Tertullian, Origin, Lactantius)
9/18 A contemporary Christian pacifist position--the powers
Selected biblical texts: Ephesians 6: 10-17, Colossians 1:1-29, Revelation
21: 1-8. Distributed in class. See also Romans 13 and Revelation 13.
*Walter Wink, The Powers that Be: Theology for a New Millennium,
Introduction and chaps. 1-2.
9/23 Contemporary Christian pacifism 2--the cross
Selected biblical texts: Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Matthew 16: 13-28, Philippians 2:1-18,
I Corinthians 1:18-2:16. Distributed in class.
*Wink, The Powers that Be, chaps. 3-4.
Recommended: René Girard, I See Satan Fall Like Lightning.
9/25 Contemporary Christian pacifism 3--an ethic of nonviolence
*Wink, The Powers that Be, chaps. 5-11.
B. Development of traditions of just and unjust war.
9/30 Origins of Just/Unjust War: Augustine
+Arthur Holmes, ed., War and Christian Ethics, pp. 61-83 (selections from
*Cahill, Love Your Enemies chap. 4.
10/2 Just/Unjust War: Thomas Aquinas
+Arthur Holmes, ed., War and Christian Ethics, pp. 92-117 (selections
from Thomas Aquinas)
+Thomas Aquinas, on killing, in Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 64, arts. 6
and 7, in vol. III of Christian Classics edition, pp. 1464-1466.
*Cahill, Love Your Enemies chap. 5.
10/7 Just/Unjust War: Luther and Calvin
+Arthur Holmes, ed., War and Christian Ethics, pp. 140-176 (selections
from Luther and Calvin)
*Cahill, Love Your Enemies chap. 6.
10/9 Crusades and developing pacifism
+Arthur Holmes, ed., War and Christian Ethics, pp. 88-91, 177-189
(selections from Bernard of Clairvaux, Erasmus, and Menno Simons)
*Cahill, Love Your Enemies chaps. 7 and 8.
10/14 No class--Columbus Day
10/16 Just/unjust war: secularization and international law.
+Arthur Holmes, ed., War and Christian Ethics, pp 226-238 (selections from Grotius)
+Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars, chap. 4, pp. 51-73.
Case study #1:
Is a preemptive strike by the United States on Iraq
10/21 A recent Christian realist stand
+Arthur Holmes, ed., War and Christian Ethics, pp. 301-313 (selection
from Reinhold Niebuhr, "Why the Christian Church is not Pacifist.")
C. Challenges for the ethics of war today
10/23 Muslim approaches
*John Kelsay, Islam and War: A Study in Comparative Ethics
Case study #2:
How should one understand and respond to suicide bombings in Israel
by Palestinian members of Hamas?
10/30 War, Peace, and International Institutions
Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth), 1963 Encyclical Letter on human rights and world peace. Available online at:
Charter of the United Nations, esp. Preamble and chapters 1, 6, and 7. Available online at: http://www.un.org/aboutun/charter/index.html
+Paul Kennedy and Bruce Russett, "Reforming the United Nations," Foreign Affairs, September/October 1995, pp. 56-71.
+Henry A. Kissinger, "The Pitfalls of Universal Jurisdiction," Foreign Affairs, July/August 2001, pp.86-96.
+Kenneth Roth "The Case For Universal Jurisdiction," Foreign Affairs, September/October 2001, pp. 150-154.
Case study #3:
Should Augusto Pinochet or Slobodan Milosovic by tried for crimes against humanity under an international court with universal jurisdiction?
Case study #4:
Is the United States justified in rejecting the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Tribunal over U.S. citizens?
11/4 Humanitarian intervention
The Responsibility to Protect: Report of the International Commission on
Intervention and State Sovereignty, 2001, Synopsis, and chaps. 1-4, 6, 8. Available online at:
(Scroll down this page to links to the individual chapters.)
Case study #5
Should the international community or some of its state members have intervened militarily to prevent humanitarian catastrophe in Somalia or Rwanda or East Timor or Bosnia or Kosovo?
J. Bryan Hehir, "Military Intervention and National Sovereignty," in
Jonathan Moore, ed. Hard Choices: Moral Dilemmas in Humanitarian Intervention, chap. 2, pp. 29-54.
Michael Walzer, "The Politics of Rescue," Social Research (1995),
11/6 Responses to terrorism
J. Bryan Hehir, "What Can Be Done? What Should Be Done?" America, Oct. 8, 2001. Available online at:
John Langan, "From Ends to Means: Devising a Response to Terrorism,"
America, Oct. 8, 2001. Available online at:
George A. Lopez, "After September 11: How Ethics Can Help?" America, Oct. 8, 2001. Available online at:
D. Reconciliation and peacemaking.
11/11 Reconciliation 1
*Gregory Baum and Harold Wells,eds., The Reconciliation of Peoples: Challenge to the Churches, pp. 1-42, 184-192.
11/13 Reconciliation 2
Case studies #6 and 7.
Presentation of several case studies. Possible case studies include
the possibilities and challenges to reconciliation in South Africa, North Ireland, Chile, Rwanda, the nati0ns of the former Yugoslavia.
11/18 Peacebuilding 1
*John Paul Lederach, Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in
Divided Societies, Foreword, Introduction, chaps. 2-4, plus pp. 153-169
(in conjunction with figure 2 on p. 39 and figure 3 on p. 56.
11/25 Peacebuilding 2
*Lederach, Building Peace, chaps. 5-7, Conclusion, and pp. 170-180 (in
conjunction with figure 6 on p. 77.
Case study #8:
One of the countries presented in Lederach could provide
the basis for a case study presentation of peacebuilding efforts, i.e.
Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia.
11/27 No class, thanksgiving holiday
12/2 NGOs and peacebuilding
*Mary B. Anderson, Do No Harm: How Aid Can Support Peace-Or War, pp.
12/4 NGOs and peacebuilding-cases
Case studies #9 and 10.
The countries considered in Anderson, Do No Harm, pp. 79-142 can
provide the basis for two case study presentations, i.e. Tajikistan,
Lebanon, Burundi, India, Somalia.
12/9 Concluding overview
I. Read all assigned readings before the class for which they are assigned.
II. Attend class and participate in class discussion.
III. Four short papers (4-5 pages, double-spaced), one for each of the four units of the course (A, B, C, D) of the course. These papers are due on 9/30, 10/23, 11/11, 12/2. Topics for these papers will be distributed in advance. 50% of final grade (12.5% each).
IV. Case study oral presentation. Students working in groups of 2 or 3 will make a 15 minute report on one of the case studies listed on the a syllabus. The professor can provide assistance in obtaining bibliography for the case presentation. In exceptional circumstances due, for example, to special experience or background, alternative case study topics may be possible. The topic for each student's presentation should be arranged by October 2. 12.5% of grade.
V. Final assessment
For Undergraduates: final examination. Five essay topics for the exam will be distributed in advance; you will be asked to respond to two of these in the exam. The topics will be synthetic and will presume that the student is familiar will all the readings assigned for the course. 37.5% of grade.
For graduate students:
Either the final exam as described above,
Or: a final paper, approximately 15 pages, on a topic agreed in advance with the professor. Graduate students choosing this option should submit a one page proposal for the paper to the professor by 10/30 and should meet with the professor to discuss it and have it approved by 11/13. If either of these deadlines is missed it will be presumed the student will take the final exam. 37.5% of grade.