Christian Attitudes to War, Peace, and Revolution

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"A most significant contribution to Yoder scholarship as well as to contemporary theological reflection upon Christian pacifism."--Nathan R. Kerr, Modern Theology

John Howard Yoder was one of the most important thinkers on just war and pacifism in the late twentieth century. This collection of Yoder's lectures and writings on these issues describes, analyzes, and evaluates various patterns of thought and practice in Western Christian history. The volume, now made widely available for the first time, makes Yoder's stimulating insights more accessible to a broader audience and substantially contributes to ongoing discussions concerning the history, theology, and ethics of war and peace. Theologians and ethicists, students of Yoder's thought, and all readers seeking a better understanding of war and Christian pacifism will value this work.


"Yoder's Christian Attitudes to War, Peace, and Revolution is not only essential for understanding Yoder's position, it is an invaluable resource for anyone concerned with the ethics of war and peace. Thank God it is finally in print."--Stanley Hauerwas, Duke Divinity School

"Many of us are so uprooted, so mobile, so dissatisfied with the church where we might belong, that we sense ourselves not knowing what tradition we belong in. John Howard Yoder includes our diverse traditions with fairness. He was a theological ethicist trained in the history of church traditions, at Goshen, Basel, Notre Dame, and world ecumenical dialogues, using five different languages. Here he traces diverse dimensions of church tradition. I can find myself here, in a tradition of church renewal through discipleship, not dualistic but engaged--faithful and effective--with Christ as Lord. I pray that you can too. We are too confused now and want to know where we belong; John gives us belonging with a tradition among diverse traditions."--Glen Stassen, Fuller Seminary

The Authors

  1. John Howard Yoder

    John Howard Yoder

    John Howard Yoder (1927-1997; ThD, University of Basel) taught at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary and was later professor of theology and ethics at the University of Notre Dame. He is known especially for his influential book The Politics of Jesus.

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  2. Theodore J. Koontz

    Theodore J. Koontz

    Theodore J. Koontz (PhD, Harvard University) is professor of ethics and peace studies at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana.

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  3. Andy Alexis-Baker

    Andy Alexis-Baker

    Andy Alexis-Baker is a graduate of Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. He is currently an adjunct professor of peace, justice, and conflict studies at Goshen College.

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"This book is a premier source for the outstanding insights of Dr. John Howard Yoder, one of the great minds of the twentieth century. Through his careful theological interpretation, his contribution over the last half of that century has touched minds and hearts across the Christian spectrum and in many parts of the larger world. . . . The reader will be amazed at the breadth of Yoder's scholarship and the force of his intellectual perception as he inter-faces with other scholars. . . . Yoder stretches the mind but challenges the heart-commitment of the reader. As Mennonite he reaches far beyond any ethnicity and is ecumenically engaging. . . . We are indebted to . . . Theodore J. Koontz and Andy Alexis-Baker for their care in editing and presenting these lectures to the reading audience. I highly recommend a careful reading of this work."--Myron S. Augsburger, Brethren in Christ History & Life

"The reading is very engaging since it is primarily representative of classroom lectures. The book dives right in to complicated topics and addresses them with fervor and devoted scholarship. It also has impressive historical depth. . . . A strong element of the book is that Yoder is not just concerned with this as a topic of historical debate. For him it is the historical and theological underpinnings for issues that Christians face today. . . . It is a broad and well-written book. . . . Yoder brings a strong mind and a caring heart to this work. Violence is a vastly complicated topic full of pitfalls and obstacles, but Yoder's desire to be faithful to Jesus and be a clear thinker shines out. . . . Yoder's life and research was such that his book deserves to be read so that multiple voices can be heard about something so deeply important in any age."--Robert P. Maupin, Stone-Campbell Journal

"The book is a highly significant contribution to understanding Yoder's thought, and it can serve anyone who wishes to better understand the historical developments related to Christian pacifism and the just war tradition. . . . The scope of this work is remarkable. Yoder's theoretical analysis of just war doctrine and his thorough investigation of pacifist expressions in the pre-Reformation and Reformation periods are substantial. . . . He takes historical analysis deeper and asks questions that are more pertinent to current ecumenical discussions. This resource will be useful for those involved in ecumenical conversations on issues such as the 'responsibility to protect,' selective conscientious objection, just policing, and nuclear pacifism. This book is essential reading for those on any side of this ecumenical conversation."--Kent Yoder, Mennonite Quarterly Review

"A most significant contribution to Yoder scholarship as well as to contemporary theological reflection upon Christian pacifism. . . . Yoder's text is most important for the way in which it demonstrates how the Christian telling of 'history' and the ecumenical search for Christian unity have omitted the very category of 'peace' as a core dogmatic concern. As Yoder's own historiography reflects, there is much work to be done if this lacuna is to be overcome. Yet there is also a good bit of profoundly suggestive material within this text itself for how such work might go forward."--Nathan R. Kerr, Modern Theology

"The posthumous publication of [this book] significantly deepens our understanding of the nuances of John Howard Yoder's views regarding both peace and war, both 'nonviolence' and 'violence.'. . . [This book] offers acute insight into the nature, interrelations, and distinctions of these realities from one of 20th-century theology's best social ethicists. . . . It was especially illuminating to see just how much insight into and leverage against the whole range of modern sentiments about war and peace Yoder's narrative is able to provide. Even as an exercise in 'descriptive' historical theology, the constructive theological payoff is clear. . . . [This book] serve[s] as [an] excellent introduction to the precedence in history, scripture, and Christian tradition for Yoder's lifelong presumption against socially effective violence."--Scott Prather, Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology