world council of churches

The Art of Forgiveness: Theological Reflections on
Healing and Reconciliation

Geiko Müller-Fahrenholz

Reconciliation is a word that springs lightly from the mouths of politicians and pundits, perhaps because it never seems to have much concrete content.

Forgiveness is a concept that seems shorn of its roots by the gradual disappearance of the sense of sinning against God and of the need for penance, reducing forgiveness to a social convention (as in "Padron me!").

The thought that either of these theological ideas might have some political relevance seems thoroughly unconvincing in the light of the apparently unforgivable horrors of our time.

This book grows out of the conviction that, as the author says, "it is necessary to think about forgiveness not in spite of Auschwitz but because of Auschwitz".

Drawing on the biblical tradition and church history, Geiko Müller-Fahrenholz shows how the idea of forgiveness has been distorted, abused and largely lost, and why it is of ultimate importance to reclaim this healing art, not only in personal relations but especially also in the relations between nations and peoples.

He devotes one chapter to a careful analysis of the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up after the end of apartheid in South Africa and its relevance to many other situations of deeply rooted hostility and conflict in the world today. (118 pp., WCC Publications, Geneva, Switzerland, 1997)

Geiko Müller-Fahrenholz is a German theologian who has served in a variety of ecumenical positions in his own country, Latin America and the World Council of Churches. He is the author of God's Spirit: Transforming a World in Crisis, (WCC Publications, 1995).

Product number: 1224-4
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