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Just Peace: Theological and Ethical Interpretations of Peace and Justice




Course load



Prof. Dr F. Enns

6 ECs


The ongoing ecumenical and interreligious debate on “Just Peace” will be presented and discussed. This includes a theological understanding and different approaches to peace as well as different models of justice (retributive vs. restorative and transitional justice).

From this different “testing fields” will be approached: The “Responsibility to Protect”, “Just Policing”, conflict transformation and reconciliation models as well as interreligious peace-building efforts.

  1. The student can name the different dimensions and the theological, ethical, and spiritual foundations of Peace and Justice from a broad ecumenical and inter-religious perspective. The role of Peace and Justice within the different religious traditions will be tested as well as the (historical and political) obstacles and challenges to Ethics. Through this knowledge the student will be able to contribute to the ongoing discussion in the field of Peace & Justice Studies by taking part in the discussions in class.

  2. The student analyses a variety of ethical and theological questions arising from today´s political and societal challenges to conflict resolution – in manifold dimensions. Non-violent approaches to civil conflict management, “good practices”, as well as new trends in peace-building will be explored by the students.

  3. The student will transfer this knowledge to new or unknown circumstances of different contexts in order to test the potential of different models. The student will integrate the knowledge and cope with the political, societal, and ethical complexities of each given context by comparing case studies.

  4. The student formulates judgments on the basis of the given information, by taking part in the discussions during class as well as in writing smaller essays or reading reports on very specific topics and texts, taking into account the societal and ethical responsibilities involved.

  5. The student communicates conclusions growing out of the knowledge, motives and arguments in a clear manner to the other participants of the class as well as writing a small article for the public on a specific topic of the field.

  6. The student analyses the ethical “dilemmas” and develops the ability to argue for and against different ethical approaches and their respective implications by writing a paper at the end of the course. The student will be able to perform independently and autonomous follow up studies.




Literature (non-exhaustive)
  • David Whitten Smith, Elizabeth Geraldine Burr, Understanding World Religions. A Road Map for Justice and Peace, London: Rowman & Littlefield 22015

  • Harold Coward, Gordon S. Smith (eds.), Religion and Peacebuilding. New York: State University of New York Press 2004.

  • Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Interfaith Just Peacemaking. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on the New Paradigm of Peace and War, New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2012.

  • Erica Chenoweth, Maria J, Stephan, Why Civil Resistance Works. New York: Columbia University Press 2011.

  • John Paul Lederach, Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies, Washington D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press 1997.

  • John Paul Lederach, The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace, Oxford (et.al.): University Press 2005.