Volume 3, Issue 3, 2015
Symposium on Religion, War, and Ethics: A Sourcebook of Textual Traditions
Rosemary B. Kellison
Texts and Traditions in the Comparative Study of Religion, Morality, and Violence
In this response to the commentaries by Torkel Brekke, Reuven Firestone, Michael Jerryson, and Nahed Zehr on Religion, War, and Ethics, I reflect on the ways in which these commentaries help to illuminate the role that texts play in the construction and reconstruction of moral traditions. I describe the texts in the anthology as contributions to ongoing conversations in which participants draw on precedential texts to authorize, prohibit, endorse, or condemn particular uses of armed force. As a collection that places these texts side by side, Religion, War, and Ethics helpfully enables both intratraditional comparison demonstrating the diversity of positions within any one tradition and intertraditional comparison illustrating similarities and differences in both the arguments and historical development of different religious traditions’ discussions of ethics of war. I conclude with some cautions regarding how such comparison is best carried out.