Sarasota Monthly Meeting
Sarasota Monthly Meeting
of the Religious Society of Friends

Our Meetinghouse was blessed to have retired Swarthmore College professor and wintering Friend, Jerry Frost conduct a five week class entitled: War, Religion and Peace during the third and the beginning of the fourth month, 2009

Links to all five audio recordings of these classes are available below for your listening pleasure.

Here is a brief description of the course:

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all promise to bring peace but have also legitimated war. Adherents of these three religions have used sacred writings in support of crusades (holy wars), just wars, and pacifism. These three approaches to war, created before the emergence of modern states and nationalism, remain the foundation of contemporary religious-ethical thinking about war. The classes will deal with three subjects: Biblical and Qu'ranic exegesis, the creation of religious traditions and institutions, and ethics. My hope is that Friends will learn about the strengths and limitations of using religion to evaluate armed conflicts.


March 8th audio transcript .WMA file ~16Mb

March 15th audio transcript .WMA file ~15.7Mb

March 22nd audio transcipt .WMA file ~14.7Mb

March 29th audio transcript .WMA file ~14.5Mb

April 5th audio transcript .WMA file ~ 15.95Mb


Class Syllabus

Week 1: War in the Hebrew scriptures before the fall of Judah
A. Yahweh's War
B. Deuteronomistic Historian
C. The Prophet

Readings Week 1:
The biblical materials are complex and confusing (and likely will continue to seem so even after we are done.) Depending on your knowledge of the Bible and modern exegetical techniques, read some of the following:
• Exodus 14:1-15:21 (departure from Egypt)
• Judges 4:1-8:29 (Deborah and Gideon; if you want to know the origin of Barack, read this story too)
• Joshua 1-10 (conquest)
• I Kings 22:1-22 (prophecy)
• Isaiah I, 2:1-4; 9: 1-7; 11: 1-10 (judgment and peaceable kingdom)
• Deuteronomy, ch. 20.

Week 2. Israel under the Persians & Romans
A. Wisdom Literature
B. Apocalyptic War

Week 3. From Jesus to Constantine
A. Quest for the political Jesus
B. Pacifism?
C. Christian Holy War

Week 4. Just War Tradition
A. Augustine
B. Medieval just war theories: justice in
cause, justice in conduct
C. Luther and the "first shot" doctrine

Week 5. The Islamic Just War Tradition
A. Mohammad and the Quran: jihad and
civilian immunity
B. The Armies of the Caliphs
C. The Abbasids: dar al islam and dar al harb
D. The crusades

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