Yoder’s pacifist epistemology

    A Pacifist Way of Knowing

    Though the great Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder died in 1997, new writings of his continue to appear in print. Just released (hat tip to Danny Postel) is a new collection of his work on the connections between pacifism and epistemology—the study of knowledge, of how we know, believe, and understand.

    The two subjects might appear to have only a tendentious tie. What does nonviolence have to do with knowledge? For the beginning of an answer, one need go no farther than Gandhi’s concept of satyagraha, truth-force. Truth, he taught, is the method and medium of nonviolent force. But then further questions arise. What do we mean by truth, and where does it come from? How do we recognize it?

    For the rest of an answer, this book seems like an excellent place to start:

    In A Pacifist Way of Knowing: John Howard Yoder’s Nonviolent Epistemology, editors Christian Early and Ted Grimsrud gather the scattered writings of Yoder on the theme of the relationship between gospel, peace, and human ways of knowing. In them, they find the beginnings of a pacifist theology of knowledge that rejects strategies of empire while at the same time avoids a self-defeating relativism.

    Learn more and order the book at Wipf and Stock Publishers. Also check out another Yoder publication from Baylor University Press this year, Nonviolence: A Brief History.



    Recent Stories

    • Analysis

    Anti-occupation coalition grows stronger in the face of Israeli military violence

    May 24, 2019

    When diaspora Jews and those living in Israel join with Palestinians, they forge a more powerful and just movement to end the occupation.

    • Column

    Vision is finally on the rise in U.S. politics

    May 21, 2019

    From grassroots movements to presidential hopefuls, the importance of creating visionary plans for change is no longer being ignored.

    • Analysis

    Populist alliances of ‘cowboys and Indians’ are protecting rural lands

    May 17, 2019

    By appealing to the hearts and minds of their white neighbors, Native Americans are carving out common ground and building unity through diversity.