The Ethics of War in Asian Civilizations: A Comparative Perspective, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Ethics of War in Asian Civilizations

A Comparative Perspective, 1st Edition

Edited by Torkel Brekke


216 pages

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This book explores how issues of ethics in war and warfare have been treated by major ethical traditions of Asia. It opens a discussion about whether there are universal standards in the ideologies of warfare between the major religious traditions of the world.

While the chapters are written by specialists in Asian cultures, some of the conceptual apparatus is drawn from the scholarly discourse on just war, developed in the study of the ethical tradition of Christianity. Taking a comparative approach, the book looks at six different Asian religious, philosophical and political traditions: Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, China and Japan; and is organized according to geography. This innovative approach opens a new field of research on war and ideology, and extends the debate on modern warfare, universalism and human rights.

Table of Contents

Foreword Torkel Brekke Introduction: Comparative Ethics and the Crucible of War G. Scott Davis Part 1: West Asia 1. The Ethic of War in Judaism Norman Solomon 2. Islamic Tradition and the Justice of War John Kelsay Part 2: South Asia 3. Between Prudence and Heroism: Ethics of War in the Hindu Tradition Torkel Brekke 4. In Defense of Dharma: Just War Ideology in Buddhist Sri Lanka Tessa Bartholomeusz Part 3: East Asia 5. Might Makes Right: Just War and Just Warfare in Early Medieval Japan Karl Friday 6. The Just War in Early China Mark E. Lewis Afterword: Ethics across Borders Henrik Syse

About the Editor

Torkel Brekke completed his DPhil at the University of Oxford in 1999 and is currently Associate Professor at the Institute of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages at the University of Oslo. His primary research interest is the relationship between religion and politics. Previous publications include Religious Motivation and the Origins of Buddhism (also published by Routledge) and Makers of Modern Indian Religions.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General