An Ethic For Enemies: Forgiveness in Politics / Edition 1

An Ethic For Enemies: Forgiveness in Politics / Edition 1

by Donald W. Shriver, Jr. Shriver
     
 

Our century has witnessed violence on an unprecedented scale, in wars that have torn deep into the fabric of national and international life. And as we can see in the recent strife in Bosnia, genocide in Rwanda, and the ongoing struggle to control nuclear weaponry, ancient enmities continue to threaten the lives of masses of human beings. As never before, the

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Overview

Our century has witnessed violence on an unprecedented scale, in wars that have torn deep into the fabric of national and international life. And as we can see in the recent strife in Bosnia, genocide in Rwanda, and the ongoing struggle to control nuclear weaponry, ancient enmities continue to threaten the lives of masses of human beings. As never before, the question is urgent and practical: How can nations—or ethnic groups, or races—after long, bitter struggles, learn to live side by side in peace?
In An Ethic for Enemies, Donald W. Shriver, Jr., President Emeritus of Union Theological Seminary, argues that the solution lies in our capacity to forgive. Taking forgiveness out of its traditional exclusive association with personal religion and morality, Shriver urges us to recognize its importance in the secular political arena. The heart of the book examines three powerful and moving cases from recent American history—our postwar dealings with Germany, with Japan, and our continuing domestic problem with race relations—cases in which acts of forgiveness have had important political consequences. Shriver traces how postwar Germany, in its struggle to break with its political past, progressed from denial of a Nazi past, to a formal acknowledgement of the crimes of Nazi Germany, to providing material compensation for survivors of the Holocaust. He also examines the efforts of Japan and the United States, over time and across boundaries of race and culture, to forgive the wrongs committed by both peoples during the Pacific War. And finally he offers a fascinating discussion of the role of forgiveness in the American civil rights movement. He shows, for instance, that even Malcolm X recognized the need to move from contempt for the integrationist ideal to a more conciliatory, repentant stance toward Civil Rights leaders. Malcolm came to see that only through forgiveness could the separate voices of the African-American movement work together to achieve their goals.
If mutual forgiveness was a radical thought in 1964, Shriver reminds us that it has yet to be realized in 1994. "We are a long way from ceasing to hold the sins of the ancestors against their living children," he writes. Yet in this poignant volume, we discover how, by forgiving, enemies can progress and have progressed toward peace. A timely antidote to today's political conflicts, An Ethic for Enemies challenges to us to confront the hatreds that cripple society and threaten to destroy the global village.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195119169
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
01/15/1998
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Donald W. Shriver, Jr., is President Emeritus and Professor of Applied Christianity at Union Theological Seminary, and past president of the Society for Christian Ethics.

Table of Contents

Introduction3
A Complex and Multi-Dimensional Concept: Some Definitions6
The Plan of the Book9
1Revenge, the End of Politics; and Justice, the Beginning12
Aeschylus: The Taming of Revenge by Institutions of Justice13
Thucydides: The Triumph Fury in War18
Cain, Joseph and Their Kin: A Saga of Restorative Justice22
"Who Can Forgive Sins but God Alone?"29
Interlude: Reflections on Revenge, Justice, and Forgiveness30
2Forgiveness in Politics in Christian Tradition33
Jesus - The Discoverer" of Social Forgiveness?34
The Political Context of Jesus' Ministry36
Forgiveness as Community Building in the New Testament38
Did Christians Believe that Forgiveness Belonged in the Public Sphere?45
Appearances and Disappearances of Forgiveness in the "Christian" Political Order46
The Crisis for All Formulations of Forgiveness: The Enlightenment Perspective58
3Political Ethics as Moral Memory63
The Politics of Death and Life64
Remembering History Morally68
Can Nations Remember, Repent, and Forgive?71
4Vengeance and Forbearance: Germans and Americans73
Germans and Americans: 1914-4574
Democracy at War: A Note on "Just War" Ethics, 1941-4576
Vengeance versus Truth, Reparation versus Restoration, 1945-6078
The United States and Germany: Forty Years after World War II92
Postscript: 1995 and Beyond116
5Enmity and Empathy: Japan and the United States119
Remembering the Pacific War121
Remembering Japanese Americans155
6Justice and Forgiveness: The Long Road to Equal Citizenship for African Americans170
The Oldest American Civic Injustice171
An Early Civil Rights Movement: 1865174
Wholly Belonging: The Civil Rights Movement, 1955-68179
Black Power and Political Forgiveness?204
"That Old and Still Unpaid Debt,"210
7Whither Forgiveness in American Politics?218
The Place of Apology220
Restitution and Domestic Tranquillity224
Forgiveness Too Soon, Too Late225
Pluralism: Our Coming National Trial by Diversity227
Notes235
Bibliography271
Name Index277
Subject Index281

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