Politics of Past Evil: Religion, Reconciliation, And the Dilemmas of Transitional Justice

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"A great strength of this timely volume is its combination of a theological and philosophical accounting of reconciliation, with an empirically driven appreciation for how such reconciliation practices work out in the world of politics. Bringing together the insights of disparate disciplines on most any topic is always admirable, but more important in this case is that the topic under consideration in this book—reconciliation—demands such an interdisciplinary perspective. As such, it is likely to generate a good deal of interest in political science, history, sociology, philosophy, religious studies, and theology." —J. Christopher Soper, Pepperdine University
"Sentimentality threatens and undermines the work of reconciliation. So thank God we have this book of extraordinary essays on reconciliation and forgiveness. These essays show at once the hard yet crucial work that is reconciliation. Moreover, it is not work that simply takes place between people, but as these essays show, it can be the heart of politics. Indeed, these essays demonstrate that reconciliation is a politic that we cannot live without. The philosophical, theological, and political sophistication of these essays will make this book the book of record on issues of reconciliation and forgiveness." —Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke Divinity School
What place does reconciliation have in the politics of transitions? What are the warrants for it? In this important new volume, Alan J. Torrance, David B. Burrell, C.S.C., Nicholas Wolterstorff, and Daniel Philpott draw on theology for their theoretical perspectives in answering these questions; A. James McAdams, Mark R. Amstutz, and Ronald A. Wells chart the path of reconciliation in Germany, Argentina, South Africa, and Northern Ireland. R. Scott Appleby offers a concluding essay. Their insights will interest a wide variety of readers, both scholars and generalists, both with and without theological commitments.  

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The Politics of Past Evil sheds light on an important question: How do newly established democratic governments—in countries that previously lived under Communism, military dictatorship, or apartheid—address the crimes and injustices committed by the previous regime? . . . The book as a whole is both innovative and provocative. It enriches the literature on democratization by introducing theological as well as political and philosophical reasoning into the transitional logic.” —Journal of Cold War Studies

" 'Truth and reconciliation commissions’ have been used in countries as various as South Africa, El Salvador, Chile, and Guatemala in order to deal, personally and politically, with great crimes and injustices. The thoughtful essays in this book effectively make the case that the choice is not, or not always, between justice and reconciliation. Rather, the authors argue from various perspectives, reconciliation is an essential ingredient of justice.” —First Things

“The essays . . . collected here offer a comprehensive, as well as an immensely timely and instructive, account of the role that Christian theological insights can play in generating genuine political reconciliation in divided societies.” —Choice

“Philpott's collection offers excellent multidisciplinary approaches that are concretized in case studies. It is an ideal text for teaching, whether in politics or social ethics.” —Theological Studies

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Beyond politics as usual : is reconciliation compatible with liberalism? 11
Ch. 2 The theological grounds for advocating forgiveness and reconciliation in the sociopolitical realm 45
Ch. 3 The place of forgiveness in the actions of the state 87
Ch. 4 Interfaith perspectives on reconciliation 113
Ch. 5 The double demands of reconciliation : the case of unified Germany 127
Ch. 6 Restorative justice, political forgiveness, and the possibility of political reconciliation 151
Ch. 7 Northern Ireland : a study of friendship, forgiveness, and reconciliation 189
Conclusion : reconciliation and realism 223
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