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Offering Hospitality

Questioning Christian Approaches to War

Caron E. Gentry

Publication Year: 2013

In Offering Hospitality: Questioning Christian Approaches to War, Caron E. Gentry reflects on the predominant strands of American political theology—Christian realism, pacifism, and the just war tradition—and argues that Christian political theologies on war remain, for the most part, inward-looking and resistant to criticism from opposing viewpoints. In light of the new problems that require choices about the use of force—genocide, terrorism, and failed states, to name just a few—a rethinking of the conventional arguments about just war and pacifism is timely and important. Gentry’s insightful perspective marries contemporary feminist and critical thought to prevailing theories, such as Christian realism represented in the work of Reinhold Niebuhr and the pacifist tradition of Stanley Hauerwas. She draws out the connection between hospitality in postmodern literature and hospitality as derived from the Christian conception of agape, and relates the literature on hospitality to the Christian ethics of war. She contends that the practice of hospitality, incorporated into the jus ad bellum criterion of last resort, would lead to a “better peace.”

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press


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pp. C-C

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

This book on hospitality was written due to the extension of hospitality. I am thankful for all of the sustenance that I received while writing it. In no certain order, I need to thank and acknowledge the following people and groups of people.­...

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pp. 1-10

Set during the Mexican Civil War, Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory (1940) follows the life of a whisky priest as he tries to save his life and protect the faithful. There is no doubt that the priest is a fallen man—he is an alcoholic; he has had affairs with women in his parish; he is filled with self­ loathing. While intent on doing penance, ...

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Chapter One: Harming Others

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pp. 11-28

The purpose of the HBO movie The Girl in the Café is to highlight the astonishing disparity of material and health securities between the Global North and the Global South (Curtis, 2005). The main charac­ter, Lawrence, a repressed bureaucrat under the U.K.’s chancellor of the exchequer, falls in love with an unknown woman (the girl in the café), ...

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Chapter Two: Marginal Wars

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pp. 29-48

Since the end of World War II, the number of interstate wars has de­clined, but wars within states—predominately Global South failed or weak states—has risen steadily, especially in the decade after the Cold War’s end. While the number of failed state events has hit a plateau, these wars must still be viewed as a global security threat. Such states ...

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Chapter Three: Hospitality toward Others

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pp. 49-62

One basic problem in addressing failed state conflicts is that abstrac­tion has rendered them unimportant in the field of international rela­tions. While this is changing within the discipline, it has yet to affect political theologies on war. A theological approach to war is obviously normative: finding ways of preventing war, taking nonviolent stances, ...

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Chapter Four: The Invulnerability Myth

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pp. 63-88

Students of international relations often assume that political realists are warmongers, but the truth is that political realists want war no more than anyone else. Ultimately, political realists believe that peace will come through the maintenance of the balance of power. Therefore, they seek power as a means of creating peace through deterrence. This ...

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Chapter Five: The Presence of Suffering

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pp. 89-112

Incorporating vulnerability into IR and into Christian approaches to war is not an easy task. It demands the recognition that human life and state sovereignty are dependent upon one another. Pacifism un­derstands that vulnerability is a constant feature of life, and this re­quires constant and active care for the marginalized, which will lead ...

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Chapter Six: The Offer of Hospitality

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pp. 113-136

Just War is at a new crossroads, where those who are addressing con­temporary problems and updating definitions and applications are de­parting from those who adhere to traditional ones. Such a departure helps ground this book’s argument to “weaken” last resort by length­ening the temporal process of jus ad bellum in order to provide a way ...

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Chapter Seven: A Liturgy

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pp. 137-148

The same semester that I first studied nationalism and ethnic conflict as an undergraduate, with the Dayton Accords just behind us and peace in Northern Ireland a not­ too­ distant possibility, an assignment in my ethics class included Adrienne Rich’s What Is Found There (1993). In it, Rich reprinted “To Peace,” a poem by Suzanne Gardinier. It was ...


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pp. 149-158


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pp. 159-176


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pp. 177-182

About the Author, Back Cover

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pp. 183-184

E-ISBN-13: 9780268080754
E-ISBN-10: 0268080755
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268010485
Print-ISBN-10: 026801048X

Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 862207114
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Offering Hospitality

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Subject Headings

  • Just war doctrine.
  • Agape.
  • Pacifism -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.
  • War -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.
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