The War of the Lamb

The Ethics of Nonviolence and Peacemaking

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"A profound book that covers a lot of ground and deserves careful study. . . . This is perhaps Yoder's best work because of how he deepens the theological critique of violence and thoroughly grounds nonviolence theologically. We are all in Stassen's and Nation's debt for bringing this work to fruition."--Andy Alexis-Baker, Mennonite Quarterly Review
 
John Howard Yoder was one of the major theologians of the late twentieth century. He wrote faithfully and with theological depth, particularly on the ethics of nonviolence and peacemaking. Before his sudden death, Yoder planned the essays and structure of The War of the Lamb, which he intended to be his last work. Now leading interpreters of Yoder bring that work to fruition.

The War of the Lamb covers pacifism, just war theory, and just peacemaking theory. It crystallizes Yoder's argument that his proposed ethics is not sectarian and a matter of withdrawal. Yoder also clearly argues that Christian just war and Christian pacifist traditions are basically compatible--and more specifically, that the Christian just war tradition itself presumes against all violence. Theology and ethics professors, students, and scholars will value this final work from Yoder.


Endorsements

"If any book well proclaims the very private and public, social and political goodness of the nonretaliatory love made incarnate in Jesus, The War of the Lamb is it. And if any book puts the final nail into the coffin of the false notion given us by Troeltsch, the Niebuhrs, and their students, that such love is publically irrelevant, The War of the Lamb is it. This is one of Yoder's most-important and one of American Christianity's most-needed works. Simply outstanding."--Lee C. Camp, author of Mere Discipleship and host of TokensShow.com

"Yoder's The War of the Lamb, the book he was working on at the time of his death, has been faithfully edited by close colleagues. Full of challenging insight--not least of which is the argument that just war and pacifist traditions are complementary--this culminating Yoder book is required reading for every Christian working for the peace witness of the church. Readers impressed by Bonhoeffer's Christian peace witness will be especially intrigued by Yoder's essays."--Clifford Green, executive director, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works


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. Glen Harold Stassen

    Glen Harold Stassen

    Glen Stassen (1936-2014; PhD, Duke University) was Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary.

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  3. Mark T. Nation

    Mark T. Nation

    Mark Thiessen Nation (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is professor of theology at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. He has authored several books, including John Howard Yoder: Mennonite Patience, Evangelical Witness, Catholic Convictions.

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  4. Mark Thiessen Nation

    Mark Thiessen Nation

    Mark Thiessen Nation (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is professor of theology at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. He has authored several books, including John Howard Yoder: Mennonite Patience, Evangelical Witness, Catholic Convictions.

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  5. Matt Hamsher

    Matt Hamsher

    Matt Hamsher (MDiv, Eastern Mennonite Seminary) is pastor of Longenecker Mennonite Church in Winesburg, Ohio.

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Reviews

"A long-gone-missing set of remarkable (and often alluded to) lectures by John Howard Yoder, the premier scholar of Mennonite non-violence, who died a decade ago. This was a book that he was working on when he suddenly died, and some have eagerly anticipated in what form it would come out, if ever. What an exciting publishing event. It is vintage Yoder--and it shows the serious, public relevance (contra Niebuhr!) of biblical nonviolence."--Byron Borger, heartsandmindsbooks.com

"Veterans of the debate will find new challenges and newcomers get a reasonable introduction to the theological contours of violence."--Milton Friesen, Comment

"Beginning with, or at least prompted by, the marginalisation of pacifism in the work of Niebuhr during the aftermath of the Second World War, Yoder aims to engage credibly and pragmatically with reversing this trend. . . . Yoder's work is not a gesture of sectarian nostalgia, but a distinctively Christological, and therefore, universal project."--Richard P. Whaite, Theological Book Review

"There appears to be no argument in the arena of Christian peace and non-violent studies left untouched by this very important work. . . . The book is best read for its series of highlights which should inform peace studies for the next generation. . . . Knowing the compiled nature of this volume, it is still thoroughly valuable as a course text book in a graduate or upper level peace studies course. Because it touches on so many arguments, a course could be shaped around it, although creatively. Anyone interested in peace studies should read this with care and enable the conversation with Yoder to long outlive the author. . . . Throughout this collection of writings, his is one of the most intellectually rigorous and incisive minds to take up the topic of violence since St. Augustine."--Andrew T. McCarthy, Catholic Books Review

"Some of these topics are not new to Yoder, and although four of the fifteen essays were previously published, they have still not been widely available or known. Yet Yoder both deepens and expounds on claims made elsewhere and approaches topics in fresh ways. . . . This is a profound book that covers a lot of ground and deserves careful study. . . . This is perhaps Yoder's best work because of how he deepens the theological critique of violence and thoroughly grounds nonviolence theologically. We are all in Stassen's and Nation's debt for bringing this work to fruition."--Andy Alexis-Baker, Mennonite Quarterly Review

"While this fine collection of mostly posthumous essays is not recommended for beginners to Yoder's work, its real virtue lies in clarifying the engagements--particularly the forms of dialogue--that he most valued."--Craig Hovey, 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 is one of the great strengths of The War of the Lamb that readers are able to see Yoder's skills as dogmatician, biblicist, historian, and interdisciplinarian, all deployed in fine-grained analysis of the theological roots and historical possibilities of Christian peacemaking. . . . [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

"Some who hold nonpacifist convictions may be tempted to dismiss [this book] . . . but to do so would be a mistake. Indeed, offering much more than merely an apologetic for pacifism, [this book] place[s] nonviolence in the context of rich theological reflections that will benefit the careful reader of any persuasion on the question of violence. . . . It is to their credit that the editors have made these important essays finally available to the public. . . . Yoder's arguments are laser sharp. . . . [An] important [work] that need[s] to be read seriously both by theologians and philosophers as well as anyone seeking a Christian alternative to violence and war."--David Cramer, Philosophia Christi