War and Peace in a Time of Terror


Rev. Dr Cameron Forbes Not offered in 2020
In a time of increasing threat of war and growing terrorist activity, this unit provides a structured way of bringing the Catholic Social Tradition to bear on issues associated with conflict in the world today. Further, the unit contributes to making Christian moral thought on these issues more widely known and so equipping students to engage more effectively in the public forum. The unit includes the following components: an historical, biblical, and theological examination of the concepts of peace and war; pacifism and the early church; pre-Christian antecedents of the just war tradition; the concept of “holy war”; the development of the just war principles; a moral critique of “just war”; ecumenical perspectives; a moral analysis of terrorism; a critique of the adequacy of pacifist and just war thought as a moral response to the problems of the contemporary world.




face-to-face 3-hour weekly classes in semester, or in intensive mode, or in mixed mode


  • one 1,000-word report 20%
  • one 6,000-word essay 80%


  • Bainton, Roland H. Christian Attitudes Towards War and Peace: A Historical Survey and Critical Re-evaluation. Nashville: Abingdon, 1960.
  • Biggar, Nigel. In Defence of War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • Hauerwas, Stanley, and Jean Vanier. Living Gently in a Violent World: The Prophetic Witness of Weakness. Resources for Reconciliation. Downers Grove: IVP Books, 2008.
  • Holmes, Arthur F., ed. War and Christian Ethics: Classic and Contemporary Readings on the Morality of War. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MN: Baker Academic, 2005.
  • John XXIII. Pacem in Terris. Encyclical Letter. 1963.
  • Johnson, James T. Morality and Contemporary Warfare. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999. 
  • National Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response. Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference, 1983.
  • Ramsey, Paul. Speak Up for Just War or Pacifism: A Critique of the United Methodist Bishops’ Letter “In Defence of Creation”. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1988.
  • Walzer, Michael. Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations. 4th ed. New York: Basic Books, 2006.
  • Yoder, John H., Glenn H. Stassen, Mark T. Nation, and Matt Hamsher. The War of the Lamb: The Ethics of Nonviolence and Peacemaking. Grand Rapids, MN: Brazos, 2009.