|Distinguished Research Professor
Departmental Area: Religion, Ethics, and Philosophy
Address: Department of Religion
John Kelsay (Ph.D. '85, University of Virginia, Ethics) focuses on religious ethics, particularly in relation to the Islamic and Christian traditions. His current work deals with religion and politics. Professor Kelsay serves as editor of Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, as well as Director of FSU’s Center for Humanities and Society.
- Comparative Religious Ethics
- Political Ethics
- Religion and War
- Arguing the Just War in Islam (Harvard, 2007)
- Islam and War: A Study in Comparative Ethics (Westminster/John Knox, 1993)
- Just War and Jihad (co-edited; Greenwood Press, 1991)
- Human Rights and the Conflict of Cultures (co-authored; University of South Carolina, 1988)
- “Political Practice: The Nexus Between Realisms and Just War Thinking,” in Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 98/1 (2015): 38-58.
- “Nigel Biggar’s In Defence of War: A Review Essay,” in Studies in Christian Ethics 27 (November, 2014): 490-498
- “Just War Thinking as a Social Practice,” Ethics and International Affairs 27/1 (2013): 1-20
- “The Present State of the Comparative Study of Religious Ethics: An Update,” Journal of Religious Ethics 40/4 (2012): 583-602
Current Research Projects
- Articles and a book on just war, jihad, and U.S. foreign policy
- Articles and a book outlining an approach to the comparative study of ethics
- Religious Ethics
- Christian and Islamic Political Thought
Recent Graduate Students and Placements
- Rosemary Kellison (Ph.D., 2013), Department of Philosophy, University of West Georgia
- James Broucek (Ph.D., 2012), Department of Religious Studies, Iowa State University
- Shannon Dunn (Ph.D., 2012), Department of Religious Studies, Gonzaga University
- Matt Hagele (Ph.D., 2011), Department of Religion, Kirkwood Community College
- Nahed Artoul Zehr (Ph.D., 2011), Department of Philosophy and Religion, Western Kentucky University
REL3170 Religious Ethics
Religious Ethics: In this class, you will get the chance to examine the moral problems raised by issues such as war, capital punishment, lying, the environment, and sex in the context of religious views about love, duty, good, and evil (yes, this is the big stuff). This introduction to the study of religious ethics meets the writing, liberal studies area IV and the multicultural X requirement.
RLG5035 Introduction to the Study of Religion
This seminar will review the theoretical and methodological foundations of the academic study of religion. It will focus on authors viewed as the founders and subsequent exponents and critics of the discipline. We will interrogate the arguments and evidence on which they ground the operating assumption that religion exists as an object of study and that, as a result, religious studies exists as an academic discipline. Our approach will be a critical one. We will examine religion as a heuristic category and religious studies as a form of interdisciplinary research in which authors have made arguments as relevant to ritual and symbolic concerns as to those one could also label economic, political, or sociological. We will read and discuss germinal writings by Feuerbach, Marx, Durkheim, Freud, James, and Weber as well as works by their successors, such as Eliade and his students, major anthropologists of the British and French schools, as well as Bourdieu, Foucault, Asad, McCutcheon, Mahmood, Evans, and Vásquez. The course aims to provide students a context in which to hone their own formative questions about and develop their own theories of religion and religious studies.