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Virtue Of War: Reclaiming the Classic Christian Traditions East and West Paperback – July 27, 2007

3.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dr. Darrell Cole is assistant professor of religion at Drake University in Madison, New Jersey, and taught previously at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. A native of Lynchburg, Virginia, and a graduate of Lynchburg College, he holds masters degrees in philosophy from Ohio University, in religion from Yale University, and in theology from Duke University, as well as a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Regina Orthodox Press,Csi (July 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1928653170
  • ISBN-13: 978-1928653172
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,580,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. J. Roberts on March 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
This scholarly work provides ample evidence that a Just War is not the "lesser of two evils" but is rather a positive good. Using the Bible and reams and reams of references to the Church Fathers, Orthodox prelates, and Protestant reformers, the authors painstakingly back up their premise that war can be virtuous. The end of the book includes analyses of the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq. This worthwhile reading bogs down a bit in the middle where the authors continue to list their extensive references. The writing in this area speaks more of a scholarly effort than of popular fare, but once I was through this area, I was pleased to have made the effort. For those interested in learning about the historical, moral view of war, and seeing how recent developments in pacifistic thought have modified Just War Theory, I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
The preeminence of pacifism within the Church as the proper reaction to military conflict is so established within contemporary Christianity that it is sometimes forgotten that this has not been the historic Christian position. Orthodox theologians Alexander F. C. Webster and Darrell Cole remind us of this fact in The Virtue of War, an important apologia for the Christian tradition of the just war.

Webster and Cole begin with the turmoil democracies - centered primarily in nations with a Christian tradition - face with the onslaught of Islamic terrorism as in the 9/11 murder of innocent civilians. The authors immediately make an important distinction between the Christian tradition of justifiable war in order to defend the people of God from unprovoked aggression and the Islamic ideal of jihad that defends the idea of launching attacks upon non-Muslim neighbors for the purpose of extending Muslim controlled areas.

After noting the division caused in the Church by the influence of modern liberal thinking on war, the authors then turn to a thorough examination of the Orthodox view of war and its justification in Holy Scripture, Church Fathers, Church Canons, Saints, Liturgies, and more modern Orthodox theologians. The breadth of this powerful tradition - often ignored in contemporary commentary - puts to rest any argument that the Eastern Church has largely been pacifist. Warfare is not only under certain circumstances justifiable, but is itself virtuous and not merely a "lesser of two evils." In this tradition, the Christian warrior protecting the people of God is seen as a noble and necessary calling to be respected within the Church.
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Format: Paperback
This is an absolutely amazing book for the Christian. I wouldn't recommend it for the nonChristian, because, as a theological work, it takes the Bible as axiomatic. However, if you are a Christian that believes the Bible is the inspired Word of God, then there is really no getting around the conclusions of this book, especially if you are Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran, or Calvinist. For the evangelical, you will find enough Scripture references to be convinced amidst the appeals to tradition and logic. Complex at times, it is always insightful.
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The book brings forward the historical position of Christianity in Just Wars. It adds clarity to the requirement of a Christian to evaluate their sovereign state's political position as to whether a war is just or unjust. It then makes clear that a just war is to be supported as a requirement of being a Christian! The book makes its arguments based on scripture and does not avoid the preference of Christianity to support peace -- it just recognizes that peace and Christian honesty require that a Christian fight to oppose oppression, subjugation, and degradation of the weak, the poor, and the down-trodden. The book adds a valuable perspective to the issues of war, peace, sacrifice, and duty. It clarifies the duty of the Christian citizenry. I commend it to every service person, every service person's family, and to every Christian that has the courage to broaden their understanding and faith.
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I just had to comment because of the last rude comment. Everyone is entitled to their opinion so here is mine. The Virtue of War is a fabulous piece of writing that will open up your mind to new thoughts about something that has plagued generation after generation. I commend the writers on a fine piece of work and feel sorry for others who obviously missed the point when reading this book.

Dr. Haty Kahn Ph.D. Theology Columbia University
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Of historical and practical interest.
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