War and Peace in the Jewish Tradition

Edited by Lawrence Schiffman, Joel B. Wolowelsky, Robert S. Hirt

Format: Hardcover



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With focus centered the United States' involvement in Iraq and Israel's ongoing war with terrorism, the sixteenth annual meeting of the Orthodox Forum in March 2004 took up the question of War, Peace, and the Jewish Tradition, the papers of which are published here. Mobilizing intellectual and spiritual resources within the Jewish Orthodox community, the Forum developed perspectives on war informed by moral sensitivity, political wisdom and above all fidelity to the biblical and rabbinic tradition. It was drawn, in the first instance, to two questions: when is it right, justified or obligatory to go to war (the "jus ad bellum" question), and how war, once justified or mandated, must be conducted (the "jus in bello" question). Its religious explorations engaged secular ethical perspectives and secular legalities, as well as perspectives promulgated by Christianity in its quest for a definition of "just war." It thereby placed Jewish tradition in conversation with general moral sensibilities and international regulations. With regard to Jewish tradition, three topics were explored extensively: the ethics of entering and waging war; the religious significance of having an army and of army service; and the value of peace.