Mattox John Mark Saint Augustine and the Theory of Just War Bloomsbury

Mattox john mark saint augustine and the theory of

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Mattox, John Mark. Saint Augustine and the Theory of Just War, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 2006. ProQuestEbook Central, .Created from clevelandstate-ebooks on 2018-12-03 16:13:20.
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warriors – concerned themselves with the way in which wars justifiably could be initiated or prosecuted. Neither can one claim for Augustine the distinc- tion of having been the first person to use the words ‘just’ (or ‘unjust’) and ‘war’ in tandem (that distinction may well belong to Aristotle 15 ). Moreover, the idea of a just war is not an exclusively Western innovation. The ancient Chinese, the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Hindu of India, and others discussed the moral dimensions of war in writings that antedate anything in the Latin West. 16 For example, Laotse, Chinese philosopher and founder of the Tao religion, writing in the sixth century BC , argues that war should be undertaken only with the utmost reluctance; and even then, it should never be continued beyond the point minimally required to achieve the purpose for which it was initiated. 17 The ancient Egyptians observed a sur- prising array of humanitarian practices in war. 18 The ancient Babylonians ‘dis- tinguished those responsible for initiating the war from those soldiers who fought in it’ 19 in terms of the moral burden of responsibility that each should bear; the great Babylonian leader Sennacherib observed just such a distinction after the campaign against Jerusalem in 690 BC . 20 The Hindu Book of Manu ( c . fourth century BC ) contains detailed regulations regarding the humane conduct of warfare. 21 Antedating all of these writings is one non-Western source to which Augustine had access: Deuteronomy chapter 20, which sets forth the laws of war revealed to Moses for the Israelite conquest of Canaan. Some are content to designate Augustine by the title of ‘father of Christian just war doctrine’ 22 rather than by the more general title of ‘father of just war theory in the West’. However, this designation seems not to take account of the fact that just-war issues receive attention in the writings of earlier Church Fathers. 23 In what sense, then, is Augustine fairly to be regarded as the father of just- war theory in the West? He is to be thus regarded in the sense that the whole Western just-war tradition that follows from the fifth century AD on, in both its Chris- tian and secular varieties, traces its roots not to Plato or Aristotle, nor even to earlier Church Fathers, but rather to Augustine. It may be that just-war theory has secured a permanent place in Western philosophy in part because a figure of Augus- tine’s stature deemed it of sufficient significance to address it repeatedly.
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