Doing Justice to the Complex Legacy of John Howard Yoder: Restorative Justice Resources in Witness and Feminist Ethics
- Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics
- The Society of Christian Ethics
- Volume 35, Number 2, Fall/Winter 2015
- pp. 119-139
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- Additional Information
John Howard Yoder’s reclamation of Christ’s law of love as normative for Christian ethics makes important contributions to the field, but this pacifist legacy is tainted by his sexual violence against women. Prominent “witness” and “feminist” ethicists either defend or condemn Yoder, reflecting retributive approaches to wrongdoing. Restorative justice models—with their emphasis on truth-telling, particularity, and communal responses to violence—illuminate common ground between these often antagonistic groups of ethicists, whose specific resources are needed to “do justice” to Yoder’s legacy. Yoder claimed that “Christian identity itself calls for feminist engagement,” but he failed to fully develop this claim in his theology or embody it in his life. By collaborating in such a truly feminist pacifist politics, witness and feminist ethicists not only strengthen their own internal projects with respect to the church’s mission and the promotion of women’s flourishing but also more effectively address sexual violence.