Academic journal article Theological Studies

Friedensethik Im Fruhen Mittalalter: Theologie Zwischen Kritik Und Legitimation Von Gewalt

Academic journal article Theological Studies

Friedensethik Im Fruhen Mittalalter: Theologie Zwischen Kritik Und Legitimation Von Gewalt

Article excerpt

Friedensethik im fruhen Mittalalter: Theologie zwischen Kritik und Legitimation von Gewalt. Edited by Gerhard Beestermoller. Munster: Aschendorff, 2014. Pp. 327. $46.70.

A collection of papers presented at a small conference devoted to the ethics of peace in the early Middle Ages would seem to be of interest to a relatively small audience. Indeed, some papers in this collection might interest only specialists. Yet the volume should appeal to a larger audience because the articles thoughtfully address the age-old tensions between theology and war, divine authority and worldly power.

The collection traces the beginnings of war when it was regarded as necessary and natural, either for plunder or revenge. Over time, women, children, and orphans were regarded as innocents and deserved protection. Thus, the question was no longer about unlimited wars but about limited ones, and that question helped lead to the notion of the justified war. Several authors (Lutz E. von Padberg and Wilfried Hartmann) deal with the claim that war was justified against heathens. War was seen as a final, but necessary, resort in order to protect the Holy Land; the phrase "militia Christi" applied to those who fought for the church in the Crusades. …

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