Jeffreys' new book: ‘Spirituality and the Ethics of Torture’

jeffreys2webA new book by Prof. Derek Jeffreys takes a strong stand on the use of torture as part of the “war on terror.” His book, Spirituality and the Ethics of Torture, is recently published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Jeffreys is an associate professor in the Humanistic Studies academic unit at UW-Green Bay and a specialist in ethics and the philosophy of religion.

Spirituality and the Ethics of Torture joins the current debate on torture by carefully defining the term, asserting that torture is a spiritual assault on the person, and by defending the idea that all human life has value and rejecting the notion that torture can be morally defensible. The 208-page hardcover focuses particularly on practices such as sensory deprivation that attack the human psyche.

A veteran of the U.S. Army, Jeffreys has lectured on “Just War Theology,” which asserts that violence is morally justified under certain circumstances. With regard to torture, however, his new book calls for an absolute ban on all torture, and urges American repudiation and repentance for its past practice.

One reviewer, acclaimed author and investigative reporter Jane Mayer, praised Jeffreys for writing with “admirable clarity and conviction.” The author of the New York Times best-seller The Dark Side: How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals, Mayer says Jeffreys’s book “fills an important gap in the national debate on torture by addressing its moral and spiritual dimensions at a moment when these have all too often been overlooked in favor of doing ‘whatever it takes.’”

Jeffreys earned his Ph.D. in religious ethics from the University of Chicago. He joined the UW-Green Bay faculty in 2000. His first book was Defending Human Dignity: John Paul II and Political Realism (2004), which documented what Jeffreys describes as the late pope’s remarkable ethical vision and ability to articulate the inherent value of every person.

Additional reviews and more on Jeffreys’ new book are available at