I know about jMonkeyEngine, Ardor3D, etc. Yes, I've also heard of LWJGL and OpenGL (the both are essentially the same, though) but neither of them really suit me. I don't want to deal too much in the backend stuff, because though it's really cool, I find it tedious. I have a good understanding of what goes on behind the scenes, but I need a higher-level API without a built-in physics engine. Is there such an engine? It would definitely be a plus if the engine has cool shader effects like specular lighting, normal mapping, etc.
EDIT: The engine has to be Java-based.