The Quest for Peace
Three Moral Traditions in Western Cultural History
James Turner Johnson


James Turner Johnson goes beyond the examination of moral restraints on the occasion and conduct of war to a critical study of the moral thinking that has aimed at its prevention. This scrutiny of the peace issue" in Western society covers nearly two thousand years of history and three traditions of the search for peace: the just war tradition of setting limits to war, the sectarian pacifism of withdrawal from the world and its evils, and the Utopian world-perfecting pacifism that finds the cure for discord among nations in the establishment of a new, more nearly universal, and rightly constituted political order. Revealing the historical depth of all three traditions, the book shows that contemporary "nuclear pacifism" derives from forms of thought that are centuries old.

First published in 1987.

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