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Who Would Jesus Kill?: War, Peace, and the Christian Tradition Paperback – September 15, 2008
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Allman constructs a continuum of positions on war, the extremes being pacifism on one side and holy war on the other. Just War Theory occupies the intermediate area. Holy war is rightly rejected as an option within Christianity, so the treatment here is mostly of a historical overview. There are variations within both pacifism and the just war tradition that Allman teases out.
Allman is clearly sympathetic with pacifism while at the same time acknowledging that the just war tradition has substantial merit. He considers 20th c. developments carefully, developing what he refers to as "Contemporary Just War Theory," which orders some of its criteria differently than might have been the case with its Augustinian orgins.
The book is well-written, engaging, and challenging. It's helpful to know something about historical theology along with recent writers like John Howard Yoder and Stanley Hauerwas, but I think any interested person will likely be able to track the discussion well. And in the current world climate, the questions it raises about Christian responses to matters of national security are immediately significant.
Being a veteran of OIF II (2004-05) and now a religious studies major seeking the chaplaincy, I was really looking forward to this work with the interesting title. Unfortunately, the title is probably the most interesting part of the book! Though the book is full of notes, the text does not read smooth, and it constantly repeats itself, often losing the reader. I give it 3 stars for the historical information and arguments of Aquinas and the section on Holy War; the book as a whole, however, I'm not certain if I recommend.