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Political reconciliation, forgiveness and grace

Scarre, Geoffrey

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Geoffrey Scarre


This essay argues that the overuse of the idiom of forgiveness has distorted our understanding of the nature and requirements of political reconciliation, and proposes its supplementation by a notion of grace. This is a mode of response to wrongs that is less hedged around by conventions and conditions, and grace complements forgiveness in contexts in which the latter is inappropriate; it is also more serviceable for maintaining inter-community harmony in the long term. Following a detailed analysis of grace in the political environment, the paper concludes by tracing a concept of grace in the Sermon on the Mount.


Scarre, G. (2011). Political reconciliation, forgiveness and grace. Studies in Christian Ethics, 24(2), 171-182.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 1, 2011
Deposit Date Feb 23, 2012
Publicly Available Date Feb 13, 2015
Journal Studies in Christian Ethics
Print ISSN 0953-9468
Electronic ISSN 1745-5235
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 2
Pages 171-182
Keywords Forgiveness, Grace, Memory, Northern Ireland, Political, Reconciliation, Sermon on the Mount


Accepted Journal Article (142 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Scarre, Geoffrey (2011). Political reconciliation, forgiveness and grace. Journal of Christian Ethics 24(2): 171-182. Copyright © 2011 The Author(s). Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.

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