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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Foundational scholarship, January 1, 2005
This review is from: Christian Attitudes Toward War and Peace: A Historical Survey and Critical Re-Evaluation (Paperback)
Any scholarship that addresses the evolution of Christian perspectives on warfare generally references this book. Although the scholarship of this work is now outdated and critiqued, Bainton's work is foundational in the area. Bainton believes that the Christian community started out pacifistic, then developed the just war doctrine, and finally adopted holy war ideals. He traces this trajectory from the Early Church up through the wars and conflicts of the 20th century (this book was written in 1960). Finally, Bainton adds his critique of current militaristic ideas (especially in regards to atomic warfare). This book is well written and written for all audiences, however, it is best to supplement this book with more recent scholarship to get current ideas on Christian perspectives on warfare.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Monumental In-Depth Study, January 22, 2013
By 
James M. Baird (Foster City, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This amazing volume is as much a concise history of philosophy as it is an exploration of why we go to war
(and how we might avoid it). The author is conversant with relevant thought and events from twenty five centuries of
debate on this sorest of subjects. This volume is a 1980s re-issue of the 1960 original, not a new edition.
Good call by the publishers: Bainton's work could hardly have been improved upon. When you think about it, that's a
pretty good definition of a "classic," which this friendly book is.

Like an all-night conversation with a charming and erudite friend, this book will challenge your assumptions and clarify your mind.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long title, but very accurate, August 28, 2008
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This review is from: Christian Attitudes Toward War and Peace: A Historical Survey and Critical Re-Evaluation (Paperback)
This is the one! Although only 260-some pages, you will see why many writers on pacifism and nonviolence refer to Bainton more than any other author. The early church, middle ages, enlightenment, renaissance, just war, crusades, peace churches, WWI and WWII, humanism and secular influences: it's all here.

This survey and re-evaluation keenly reviews historical emphasis on peace and war in Christian thought and practice, as well as the secular influences of the time. Written with exploratory insight into the early church, and a very interesting review on the Renaissance, though I was quite intrigued by his discussion on the 1800s (dubbed "a century of comparative peace").

Not exactly out of date, but starting here I recommend reading more recent works.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic for Peacemaking, June 17, 2014
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This review is from: Christian Attitudes Toward War and Peace: A Historical Survey and Critical Re-Evaluation (Paperback)
This book by a professor of mine at Yale Divinity Schools gives the full picture of how Christians have approached war and peace. For the first 300 years they did not participate in wars. The ethos of the church followed Jesus commond to love your enemies. later there when Constantine made Christianity the state religion Augustine came up with the criteria for a just war. Even later Pope Leo I came up with the idea of a crusade to wipe out the infidels. I guess the goal is for all people to get back to position number one. That wouild be something as they say that a war was begun and nobody came.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, October 12, 2014
By 
Ben (San Antonio, TX) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Christian Attitudes Toward War and Peace: A Historical Survey and Critical Re-Evaluation (Paperback)
Exactly what I hoped for.
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Christian Attitudes Toward War and Peace: A Historical Survey and Critical Re-Evaluation
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