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RADICAL FORGIVENESS AND HUMAN JUSTICE

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Abstract

The most substantial source for thinking about forgiveness is Christian ethics. Some Christians offer forgiveness even for atrocities in the absence of repentance and reparations. The paper critically examines Christian idealism about forgiveness, while looking beyond Christianity toward a humanistic approach that acknowledges the tragic conflict between forgiveness and justice. Christian forgiveness is part of a radical revaluation of values regarding the goods of this world, personal identity, and temporality. Humanistic approaches, as found in Kant and the Greeks, do not embrace this radical revaluation of values. But it remains useful to consider the benefits of forgiveness, even for those who are not willing to commit to such a radical revaluation.

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