Give War a Chance? Day Conference

Contesting Themes from In Defence of War
1 May 2014

A One Day Conference on the Law, Ethics, and History of Armed Conflict
St Mary’s College
The School of Divinity
University of St Andrews 

BiggarInDefenceOfWarScholars from both sides of the Atlantic, and representing a range of disciplines, will engage In Defence of War, which has quickly been regarded as one of the most important recent books on the morality of war. In it, Oxford theologian and priest Nigel Biggar challenges what he regards as wishful thinking: the increasingly fashionable view that war has become unnecessary. He contends that war can be morally legitimate, legally justified, and indeed Christian. Arguing from a range of sources including military history, real-life battle accounts, philosophy, theology, and international law, In Defence of War is the book with which future pacifists and realists will have to contend.


  • John Milbank, University of Nottingham (Theology)
  • Mary Ellen O’Connell, University of Notre Dame (Law)
  • David Rodin, University of Oxford (Philosophy)
  • Anthony Lang, University of St Andrews (International Relations)
  • Nigel Biggar, University of Oxford (Theology)

Registration is now open. The conference is free, but space is limited, so please register by emailing  Include your name and, if applicable, your institution and field of study. The event will run from approximately 10am to 5pm. Refreshments, but not lunch, will be provided. Confirmation of your place, as well as further details of the event, will be sent in April. Full details at

Keble Theology Workshop

In Defence of War?Keble Theology Workshop
A workshop with Nigel Biggar

with responses from

Esther Reed
Assoc. Prof. of Theology and Director, Network for Religion in Public Life, University of Exeter

Dapo Akande
UL in Public International Law and Co-Director, Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict

Tuesday 3 December, 5.00 p.m.
The Pusey Room, Keble College, Oxford

Nigel Biggar’s provocative new book argues a just war position supporting aggressive war in punishment of grave injustice, even if it may be in transgression of positive international law. He will be articulating his view initially in debate with Christian ethicist Esther Reed and international lawyer Dapo Akande, and then in response to questions from the floor.

This event is open to all, but numbers are limited to 60: please book early by email (one for each person attending) to  All are welcome to stay for drinks after the workshop (6.30 p.m.).

Sponsored by Hursley Theological Society, Keble College

The TORCH Book Series

Torch Book SeriesIn Defence of War by Nigel Biggar

Wednesday 27th November 2013, 1-2 pm
Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building, Woodstock Road

With a short discussion from 1:10pm to 1:40pm.
Discussants: Professor Sir Hew Strachan (History), Dr Joshua Hordern (Theology) and
Dr Tom Simpson (Philosophy and Public Policy).

A light lunch will be provided. All welcome.

For information about future TORCH Book Series events please visit:

Conflict: a moral imperative?

Conflict - Veritas ForumJust war and humanitarian intervention

Professor Nigel Biggar and The Rt Hon Clare Short (Former Secretary of State for International Development) will be speaking at this year’s Veritas Forum, on the topic of Conflict: a moral imperative? Just war and humanitarian intervention.

The Forum will be at 7.30pm on Thursday 14 November (fifth week) in the Garden Auditorium at St John’s College. All welcome.

For more information, visit

Political Community Workshop, Aberdeen

communityOn 25-26 June 2013, the Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law at the University of Aberdeen will host a workshop on Political Community, featuring the McDonald Centre’s John Perry.

Other speakers include Hanna Lerner (Politics, Tel Aviv), Sian Lazar (Anthropology, Cambridge), Ajay Gudavarthy (Politics, Nehru University), Nigel Dower (Philosophy, Aberdeen), and Tamas Gyorfi (Law, Aberdeen).

Notions of political community are implicit in many or most contemporary debates – academic and public – of citizenship, civil society and rule of law, as well as of democracy, multiculturalism and human rights. But they are seldom made explicit and subject to analysis and reflection. Having debated and discussed aspects of citizenship, civil society and rule of law in a series of events since our founding in 2009, we have identified political community as a topic that crosscuts the three but which we have yet to comprehend fully.

The workshop is free to attend, including food. View the programme for full details, including registration instructions. The event is coordinated by Dr Trevor Stack.

Sermon: The Thin Red Line

trlposterTerrence Malick’s 1998 film, The Thin Red Line, is considered one of the greatest contemporary war films, and is at once deeply moving and deeply theological. In this recent sermon delivered to the Oriel College Chapel, Nigel Biggar reflects on some of the film’s theological questions.

The Horror or the Glory? Malick’s The Thin Red Line

Upcoming Book Launches: June 4 & 13

Please join us for two exciting book launches in Oxford this June.

Hordern Cover

Political Affections: Civic Participation & Moral Theology

by Joshua Hordern

June 4, 1.15pm, Philosophy Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building

Free lunch provided; RSVP

View launch invitation or book flyer offering a 20% discount

Clarke CoverReligion, Intolerance, and Conflict

with a critical commentary by John Perry & Nigel Biggar

June 13, 6.45pm, New Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities Bldg

Wine and refreshments; remarks by Nigel Biggar