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Theology for International Law by Esther D. Reed

Theology for International Law


Theology for International Law by Esther D. Reed

Whilst Christian theology is familiar with questions about the relation of church and state, divine and human law, little attention has been devoted to questions of international law. Esther D. Reed offers a systematic engagement with contemporary issues of international law and its relevance for modern theology. Reed discusses numerous issue driven topics, including: challenges to classic just-war thinking from so-called fourth generation warfare, peoples and nationhood within divine providence, the ethics of territorial borders and the militarization of human intervention. By discussing selected biblical texts Reed helps to move the issues of international law higher up the agenda of Christian theology, ethics and moral reasoning.


This is a powerfully argued book that clears a lot of ideological ground and, one can only hope, generates new interest in the role of legal sources and norms in moral theology. -- Richard P Whaite, University of Oxford, UK * Theological Book Review * If public theology is a difficult task, it is even more daunting when directly engaging some of the most intractable dilemmas in international affairs such as torture, the 'war on terror,
human rights and humanitarian intervention. Esther D. Reed has taken up this challenge and written a tightly reasoned, theologically sophisticated, and politically savvy volume that respectfully acknowledges the ambiguous but neccessary realities of law, national interest and the use of lethal force without sacrificing central gospel commitments such as care for the poor and love of the

'other'. -- Andrew Skotnicki, Manhattan College, USA * Modern Believing 56:1 * Esther Reed's book, unusually lucid in a field where obscurity is often used to stake a claim to authority, should be read by all those who want a powerful, well-informed and essentially optimistic Christian voice discussing such deeply perplexing challenges and developments of human self-ordering in the twenty-first century. -- Philip Allott * The Tablet * I heartily endorse this elegant, informative, and authoritative Christian theological account of international law. -- David P. Gushee, Mercer University, USA Esther D. Reed's Theology for International Law spans the gap between the fundamental principles that make international law morally compelling and the contemporary issues that make it politically important. In the search for starting points for global ethics, international law is a neglected resource. It matters not only to legal specialists, but to business leaders, activists, and ordinary citizens. Esther D. Reed helps us to understand how law that works between nations begins and why it makes a difference for the future. -- Robin W. Lovin, Center of Theological Inquiry, NJ , USA Scholars are rediscovering natural law in their search to answer the critics of international law. Esther D. Reed's book is a timely and invaluable contribution to this endeavor. She is the rare scholar who deeply understands both natural law and international law and the promise of both in supporting humanity's striving for peace and the common good. -- Mary Ellen O'Connell, University of Notre Dame, USA Reed's book is a welcome addition to the growing literature on religion and international law. Much of this literature is focused on human rights, and Reed distinguishes her book by taking a Christian theological approach to the higher order question of public international law ... it lays a solid foundation, and readers not well versed in international law will find the attention to context and background helpful. -- Silas W. Allard, Emory University, USA * Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology *'

About the Author

Esther D. Reed is Associate Professor of Theological Ethics and Director of the Network for Religion in Public Life at the University of Exeter, UK.

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Book Info

Publication date

29th August 2013


Esther D. Reed

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T.& T.Clark Ltd an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


368 pages


Christian theology

International law



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