|Chair, Department of Religion
Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Distinguished Research Professor
Richard L. Rubenstein Professor of Religion
Bristol Distinguished Professor of Ethics
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)
- “Islamist Movements and Shari`a Reasoning” in Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 10/2 (July 2009): 121-134.
- “Response” to critiques of Arguing the Just War in Islam by Davis, Ilesanmi, Johnson, Oh, and Tibi in Journal of Church and State 53/1 (2011): 73-83.
Current Research Projects
- A book currently entitled The Just War Idea: Historical and Comparative Perspectives
- Articles on doctrines of predestination and their political implications
- Religious Ethics
- Christian and Islamic Political Thought
REL4044 What is Religion?
This course is a survey of how theorists in the modern era have answered questions about the origin, essence, and function of religion, as well as an examination of the methods by which religion is studied in a scholarly environment.
REL6176 Comparative Religious Ethics
This course focuses on scholarly debates concerning the method and purpose of the comparative study of religious ethics. We begin with the discussion surrounding Little and Twiss' 1978 proposal, Comparative Religious Ethics. We then move to Scott Davis 2012 work, Believing and Acting. From that point, we will take up a number of studies that are usually counted as significant contributions to comparative ethics, with an eye toward answering the questions: are some of these works better than others? If so, why?