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The Early Christian Attitude To War

A Contribution to the History of Christian Ethics

by C. John Cadoux

  This book is now available in two forms:

1. Online version of The Early Christian Attitude to War

as formatted by me (see below)

2. PDF version of The Early Christian Attitude to War 

Warning: huge file (11 MB).  Thanks to the Online Library of Liberty!

About this book:

This marvelous book was first published in 1919 and is now in the public domain.  Even today, it is the most comprehensive book on Christianity and war yet written.  Cadoux has thoroughly researched the early writings and history of the church.  This work is indispensable for any serious student of the subject.  

If you have any questions about "The Early Christian Attitude to War," then this book will probably answer it. This book shows in detail what Christians actually did with respect to the armed forces in the first four centuries, and what leading figures in the Christian movement (Clement of Alexandria, Cyprian, Justin, Ireneaus, Arnobius, Origen, Tertullian, Lactantius, Hippolytus, etc.) said about it. In brief: early Christianity was largely pacifist, and the acceptance of war came only after a fundamental reversal of the teachings of Jesus and early Christian practice. 

Cadoux treats the subject thoroughly and objectively, commenting not only on early Christian writers but writers of his own generation, including Adolf Harnack and others.  

Here is the relationship between the online version and the original book:

1. I have reproduced all of the original text. 

2. I have kept Cadoux's British spelling ("labour" and "defence" rather than "labor" and "defense," etc.) as well as his usage of proper names ("Eirenaios" instead of "Ireneaus," "Justinus" instead of "Justin," etc.).  

3. I have retained the page numbers and footnotes.  Most of the text is in three columns: the first column contains the original page number, the second the actual text, and the third the footnotes for that page.  Thus when there are references to e. g. "page 145," it is possible to locate the text Cadoux refers to.

HOWEVER, for the ease of those using this online:

1. I have broken up Cadoux's typically very lengthy paragraphs into smaller paragraphs.  One of his paragraphs originally stretched from page 184 to 190 -- seven pages!

2. I have put the more lengthy quotations (of which there are many!) in separate indented paragraphs.  Some of these quotations stretched for more than one page.  

3. The Table of Contents and the chapter divisions are my creation, although they are based on Cadoux's own organization of the material.  Cadoux's original 272-page book had an introduction and four very lengthy parts.  Parts 1, 2, and 3 were divided by Cadoux into sections.  I made each of these sections a "chapter" and made the "chapter title" the same as the section name, with the following exceptions.  

(a). Chapters 9 through 13 were originally one very lengthy section  titled "The Christian Refusal to participate in War."  I broke this down into five chapters.

(b). Chapter 17 combines two sections, "Apocalyptic Wars" and "War as an Instrument of Divine Justice," into a single chapter.

For those interested, I also have reproduced the original Table of Contents.

4. Cadoux sometimes gives the original language for a text, including Greek and Latin.  I have not reproduced the Greek letters, but just a transliteration into the Roman alphabet which has been italicized (e. g. ichthus).  

BUT if you can't handle all of this, check out the PDF version (see above).  

-- Keith Akers