John Kelsay

Distinguished Research Professor
Dr. John Kelsay

Contact Information

Religion, Ethics, and Philosophy
Office Location
206D Dodd Hall
Resume / CV
Office Hours

By appointment


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. 

Research Interests

  • Comparative Religious Ethics
  • Political Ethics
  • Religion and War

Selected Publications

Articles (Recent) 
  • “Alberico Gentili,” in Cian O’Driscoll and Daniel Brunstetter, eds., Just War Thinkers (New York: Routledge, 2018): 118-127.

  • “On Fighting as an Individual Duty,” in The Muslim World 106/2 (April, 2016):  374-383.

  • “Neighbor Love in Muslim Discourse,” in Frederick Simmons and Brian C. Sorrells, eds., Love and Christian Ethics (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2016):  360-374.

  • “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

Teaching Specializations

  • Religious Ethics
  • Christian and Islamic Political Thought 

Recent Graduate Students and Placements 

  • John Samuel Houston (Ph.D., 2017), Department of Religious Studies, Stetson University
  • 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


FALL 2023
  • REL3180: Religion & Bioethics
  • REL4190/RGL5195: Seminar: Nationalism & Religious Violence (co-taught with Dr. Michael McVicar)
Spring 2024
  • REL3171: Topics in Ethics: Foundations of Human Rights (co-taught with Dr. Rosemary Kellison)
  • REL4190/RLG5195: Seminar: Christian Realism & Global Politics
  • REL5921: Religion, Ethics & Philosophy Colloquium