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Embodying forgiveness: A theological analysis

Jones, L. Gregory
June 4, 2015

Source: (1995) Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

While there is clearly a long history of spiritual and ethical reflection on forgiveness, in recent decades in particular there has been considerable examination of issues relating to forgiveness from many perspectives. In theology, international and intra-national conflict, psychiatry and psychology, criminology, victimology, and more, many people and institutions are exploring and discussing the nature and practice of forgiveness – some to advocate, and some to question, its value and application in certain spheres. In Embodying Forgiveness, L. Gregory Jones proposes a way in which many issues and concerns relating to forgiveness can be better understood, articulated, and analyzed. Specifically, he argues for an overarching context of a Christian account of forgiveness in the God who lives in trinitarian relations of peaceable, self-giving communion. As such, God, in the face of human sin and evil, moves in love to seek reconciliation through costly forgiveness. Human beings, in response, are called to embody that forgiveness through habits and practices that reconcile and renew relationships when they are harmed and broken by sin and evil. With all of this in mind – and using Scripture, theology, life, and the arts – Jones examines the cost of forgiveness; therapeutic forgiveness; whether forgiveness has been eclipsed by evil; the nature of the forgiving God and of God’s forgiveness; forgiveness, repentance, and the judgment of grace; the practice and craft of forgiveness; and the question of loving our enemies.


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