Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Systematic Theology

First Advisor

John Johnson

Scripture References in this Resource

Exodus 20:13; Isaiah 11:6-9; Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 9:4-6; John 15:12; Leviticus 19:17-18; Matthew 5:38-48; Micah 4:3-4


The first purpose of this study, therefore, is to explore and examine the nature and content of Hauerwas's pacifist convictions and claims as a way of understanding more deeply and clearly his contribution to contemporary theology and ethics. There are, as we will see, many different varieties of pacifism. What are the essential characteristics of Hauerwas's pacifism, and what distinguishes it from these other varieties? Where do his pacifist convictions fit into his program for reforming Christian ethics? How do they inform and impact his theology as a whole?

A second purpose will be to examine Hauerwas's pacifism in the light of historic and contemporary Christian perspectives on war and peace, particularly those that belong to the just war tradition with which Hauerwas most frequently finds himself in dialogue and debate. Is there in any sense in which Hauerwas's pacifism is compatible with just war thinking in the Christian (and Lutheran) tradition, or are the two views simply irreconcilable? And if they are irreconcilable, does this mean—as suggested by the editors of First Things—that those who adhere to a Hauerwasian type of radical pacifism have no legitimate place at the table when it comes to practical discussions in the public square about the use of force by governing authorities? How much validity is there to Hauerwas's claim that most just war thinking is simply dishonest and disingenuous, and how are we to understand his repeated claims—both stated and implied—that the truly honest, consistent and clear-thinking Christian will have no choice but to recognize radical pacifism as a necessary response to the radical claims of Christ?

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.