The changing Jewish discourse on armed conflict: Themes and implications

Stuart A. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The ubiquity of military service and armed conflict in the contemporary Israeli experience has stimulated intense Jewish theological discourse in matters relevant to armed conflict. Warfare and its conduct, subjects that for almost two millennia constituted one of the great lacunae of rabbinic instruction, are now addressed in a swelling tide of detailed and erudite publications. The present essay outlines the contours of that discourse. Focusing on contemporary analyses of issues that in the western tradition fall under the rubric of ius ad bellum, it examines the means whereby attempts are made to apply traditional Jewish taxonomies of conflict to modern Israeli circumstances. In addition, the essay addresses four specific issues: (1) The identities and affiliations of the discourses principal participants; (2) The formats and styles of their discussions; (3) The principal issues with which they are concerned; and (4) The potential implications, operational as well as intellectual, of the developments described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-370
Number of pages18
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005


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