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Review essay: Forgiveness works.

Petersen, Rodney L.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2013) Journal of Law and Religion. 28:521-532.

Taken together, these three books offer a vision and a challenge to
the intersection of law and religion. Behind Henderson’s work, one
cannot but hear the competing visions of justice and legal rectitude
founded upon different religious ordering of the world. This dynamic
extends through Worthington’s sense of justice, and is seen even in the
effort to form a Christian denomination in the face of Jim Crow during
the very years of the production and Los Angeles premiere of D.W.
Griffith’s racist film, The Birth of a Nation (1915), an adaption of
Thomas Dixon’s novel The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku
Klux Klan.3° Patterns of religion and law are deeply interwoven and
fraught with implications of transcendence and meaning, as Harold J.
Berman argued so well in The Interaction of Law and Religion (1974).’
Forgiveness leads from the personal to the institutional as Frank
Buchman frequently argued. It leads to the public square or it leads
nowhere. In order to avoid destructive conflict in the twenty-first
century, forgiveness is a theological and relational dynamic that finds
reconciliation as the greater reality when faced with conflict and
vengeance. Forgiveness reminds us of law’s important goals-justice
and fairness, in their distributive, procedural, retributive, and restorative
forms. (excerpt)


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