Saint Augustine's Views on the 'Just War'
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Saint Augustine's Views on the 'Just War' book
Along and very respectable tradition of thinking about the morality of warfare has accustomed us to looking at Augustine's views on the 'just war' through the wrong end of a telescope. The idea of the 'just war' is one of those which it is very easy to sever from its intellectual roots and its cultural setting. But ideas do not lead a disembodied existence; they encourage individuals and groups to take very definite attitudes towards their cultural and social environment. The one thing which has emerged from almost all serious studies of Augustine in the last fifty years or so is that whatever can be said about almost any aspect of his thought is unlikely to be true of it over the whole span of his career as a writer and thinker. The cosmic vision of order as he had come across it in neo-Platonic writings had made a profound impression on Augustine.