• Distinguished Professor Emeritus
  • Areas of Specialization: Religious Ethics, Religion and Society, Just War Theory
  • Education: Ph.D. Princeton (1968) M.A. Princeton (1967) B.D. Vanderbilt (1963) A.B. Brown (1960)

James Johnson's area of responsibility within the Department of Religion is the field of ethics in the major western religious traditions: Christianity (both the Catholic and the Protestant traditions), Judaism, and Islam. The major focus of his research and writing has been on the subjects of war, peace, and the practice of statecraft as treated in the Christian and Islamic traditions, and he teaches a 300-level course on this subject every year. He has also written on the subject of sexuality and teaches a course on sexuality in the Christian and Jewish traditions every year. His other teaching includes a 200-level course called “Love as Ethic and Idea,” which follows and analyzes the idea of love in western Christian ethics and theology, using this as a window on the nature of the western Christian traditions, what is distinctive about them, and how they differ importantly. The last undergraduate course he offers every year is a 400-level seminar on topics that change from year to year; in recent years the focus has been on aspects of the thought of the great Christian theologian of the fourth and fifth centuries, Augustine of Hippo. Finally, starting in the fall of 2013, as part of our new M.A. program he will be teaching a course called “Just War and Jihad,” focused on major texts in the development of these two ethical traditions on war, peace, and statecraft.

pdf CV





Sovereignty: Moral and Historical Perspectives
(Georgetown Univ. Press, 2014)

Ethics and the Use of Force: Just War in Historical Perspective(Ashgate, 2011)

The War to Oust Saddam Hussein (Rowman and Littlefield, 2005)

Morality and Contemporary Warfare (Yale Univ. Press, 1999)

The Holy War in Western and Islamic Traditions
(Penn. State Univ. Press, 1997)

Just War and the Gulf War(Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1991)
Just War and Jihad: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives on War and Peace in Western and Islamic Traditions. Edited with John Kelsay(Greenwood Press, 1991)
Cross, Crescent, and Sword: The Justification and Limitation of War in Western and Islamic Tradition (Edited with John Kelsay)
(Greenwood Press, 1990)
The Quest for Peace: Three Moral Traditions in Western Cultural History
(Princeton Univ. Press, 1987)
The Bible in American Law, Politics, and Political Rhetoric (Editor and Author of Intro.)
(Scholars Press, 1985)
Can Modern War be Just?
(Yale Univ. Press, 1984)
Just War Tradition and the Restraint of War: A Moral and Historical Inquiry (Princeton Univ. Press, 1981)
Ideology, Reason, and the Limitation of War
(Princeton Univ. Press, 1975)

Selected Articles and Book Chapters
  • "Just War and Jihad of the Sword," Chapter 21 in Andrew R. Murphy, ed., The Blackwell Companion to Religion and Violence (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2011).
  • "Thinking Comparatively about Religion and War", Journal of Religious Ethics, vol. 36, No. 1 (March, 2008), 157-59.
  • "Thinking Historically About Just War," Journal of Military Ethics, vol. 8, no. 3 (Fall, 2009), 246-59. Special Issue: James Turner Johnson and the Recovery of Just War Tradition.

Selected Awards and Distinctions
  • New Jersey Council on the Humanities Grant, 2011
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 2004/5
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 1992/93
  • Guggenheim Fellowship, 1983/84
  • Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellowship, 1976/77
  • Co-Editor, Journal of Military Ethics, 2001-2010
  • General Editor, Journal of Religious Ethics, 1981-91
  • Recipient of The Daniel Gorenstein Memorial Award, 2015

Professional Memberships and Affiliations
  • American Academy of Religion
  • International Society of Military Ethics
  • International Studies Association