Journal of Religious Ethics 31 (1):3-20 (2003)

Recent just war thought has tended to prioritize just cause among the moral criteria to be satisfied for resort to armed force, reducing the requirement of sovereign authority to a secondary, supporting role: such authority is to act in response to the establishment of just cause. By contrast, Aquinas and Luther, two benchmark figures in the development of Christian thought on just war, unambiguously gave priority to the requirement of sovereign authority as instituted by God to carry out the responsibilities of ensuring a just and peaceful order in the world. On this conception it is the sovereign, in deciding whether to resort to armed force, who must make sure to satisfy the other moral requirements of the jus ad bellum. This paper examines Aquinas and Luther on sovereign authority for use of armed force. Recapturing the importance of this conception is important both for the proper understanding of just war tradition and for working out its implications for such contemporary issues as humanitarian intervention and "regime change."
Keywords sovereignty  jus ad bellum  Luther  just war  sovereign authority  Aquinas
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/1467-9795.00120
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,355
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

James Turner Johnson and the 'Classic' Just War Tradition.Nahed Artoul Zehr - 2009 - Journal of Military Ethics 8 (3):190-201.
Ján Kollár’s Thoughts on Capital Punishment.Vasil Gluchman - 2021 - Studies in Christian Ethics 34 (2):171-189.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Justification of War in Ancient China.James A. Stroble - 1998 - Asian Philosophy 8 (3):165 – 190.
The Ethics of War.Patience Coster - 2012 - Rosen Central.
Buddhist Perspectives on Positive Peace.Lucinda Peach - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 50:585-591.


Added to PP index

Total views
33 ( #347,902 of 2,519,515 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #407,153 of 2,519,515 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes