The Different Theories and Practices of Forgiveness

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Embodying Forgiveness Introduction Forgiveness is a continuous challenge to all members of the Christian community and scholars have studied all its religious, psychological and social aspects. L. Gregory Jones, an ordained Methodist pastor and the eventual Dean of Duke Divinity School from 1997 2010, joined the written discussion of forgiveness issues. His book, Embodying forgiveness: A theological analysis (Jones, 1995), is a 3-part work using elements of theology, philosophy sociology, biblical study and modern cultural references to examine different theories and practices of forgiveness. Part 1: Two Misunderstandings About Forgiveness The first section of Jones' book examines and rejects two usual misunderstandings about forgiveness: "therapeutic forgiveness," the concept that forgiveness is a quiet internal action performed for the mental health of the forgiver; modern skepticism about the impact of forgiveness being "eclipsed" by modern violence and revenge. Part 2: Jones' Concept of Forgiveness The second section of the book sets forth Jones' concepts of forgiveness. In Jones' view, forgiveness is a way of life or "craft" involving unique beliefs about love, confession, repentance, memory, and essentially every concept involved in meaningful human relations. Rather than being an isolated act by a single person, forgiveness is an ongoing process involving the community bonds and crucially dependent on a "Trinitarian" God. The Christian community is
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