The Augustinian Legacy of Divine Peace and Earthly War

Michael Hoelzl, Andrej Zwitter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Political theories representing the realist strand of international relations interpret Augustine not as a peace theorist but as a just war theorist. Ultimately, two types of Realpolitik emerged in the twentieth century: a German decisionist Realpolitik (Practical Politics) in the inter-war period and an Anglo-American ethical political realism in the early beginnings of the Cold War (1945–1989). The aim of this essay is to evaluate the Augustinian legacy of war and peace theory in both types of political realism that emerged as disillusionment with Kant’s promise of a perpetual peace under liberal conditions. We will argue that these two strands of political realism re-read Augustine and consequently also Hobbes from different premises than Kant. Consequently, the inherent Augustinian legacy of just war and divine peace has been portrayed in terms of an Augustinian theory of war rather than a theory of peace.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPeace and war
Subtitle of host publicationHistorical, philosophical, and anthropological perspectives
EditorsJohn Morgan, Alexandre Guilherme
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)3030486710
ISBN (Print)9783030486716
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2020


  • Realpolitik, War Theory, Enlightenment, Law and Theology


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