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In Defence of War

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  37 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Pacifism is popular. Many hold that war is unnecessary, since peaceful means of resolving conflict are always available, if only we had the will to look for them. Or they believe that war is wicked, essentially involving hatred of the enemy and carelessness of human life. Or they posit the absolute right of innocent individuals not to be deliberately killed, making it impo ...more
Hardcover, 361 pages
Published November 15th 2013 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2013)
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Peter Jones
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A solid, if difficult read addressing some of the objections to just war theory. Some of it was hard to follow as he was addressing really precise arguments that I was not as familiar with. I would not encourage this as an introduction to just war theory. The first couple of chapters cover the basics and would be good for someone new. But after that he gets into the weeds and it becomes heavy slogging. Still if someone is familiar with just war theory and needs to go more in-depth this is a good ...more
Oct 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Some really thoughtful essays in here, my favorite being the one on Double Effect. Additionally, he clearly amplifies the idea that acting militarily, and not acting militarily can both have serious body-counts. However, some essays lacked the persuasive ability I was hoping for, particularly the essay "Against Christian Pacifism." While he handles some arguments from Hauerwas, Yoder, and Hays ably, he misses on others.

1. The argument from silence regarding Jesus and the Roman Centurion
- I
Michal Paszkiewicz
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting and quite surprising read. The author has surprising clarity of thought and discusses many difficult topics throughout the book. I was entirely persuaded by his argument that the battle of the Somme was just, that the intervention of Kosovo was just and rather less so that the invasion of Iraq was just. Even though the last case was not entirely persuasive, the arguments were well presented and at least provide empathy and understanding for that position. I highly recommend th ...more
Nov 21, 2019 marked it as must-find
Shelves: to-read-pol-hist
Listening 11/21/19 to Q interview from 5/15/19 with author.
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The essays on Proportionality in the First World War, Legality and Morality and Kosovo, and Constructing Judgement: The case of Iraq were well constructed and important in this day and age. Plainly, Nigel Biggar takes the inherent messiness and uncertainty of life and warfare and applies them where many would like only to see clear absolutes, reminding all of us is that there are worse things than warfare in this world.
Robert Jones
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Biggar's book is probably the most important work on theories of war in decades, certainly within Christian circles. The worthy dialectician of Yoder, Hauerwas, and Hays, I take Biggar's work to be the seminal Christian work on war going back to Yoder's work (which, I believe, should not be mentioned without mentioning from Yoder's legacy of sexual abuse). I think it is the most important work on war, period, since Machael Walzer's magnum opus, 'Just and Unjust Wars'.

Biggar's grasp of the subje
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Shelves: spirituality
Excellent take on a complex and important issue. Highly recommend.
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Nigel John Biggar (b.1955) is an Anglican theologian and priest. He is Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at Christ Church, Oxford University, with a particular interest in the ethics of patriotism, nationalism and empire.

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