The Nature of Forgiveness in Philosophical Theology: Prof. Jonathan Rutledge in Brown Bag, Fri 15 March at 12

Prof. Rutledge’s paper is titled “The Nature of Forgiveness in Philosophical Theology”.
Comments: Doc. Aku Visala
Venue: Faculty of Theology, Faculty Hall 524
“Although Christian theologians often debate the appropriate conditions for offering forgiveness to wrongdoers, whether at the individual level or the socio-political one, their focus rarely turns to an in-depth analysis concerning the question of what forgiveness is. However, particular accounts of the nature of forgiveness matter to determining when it would be appropriate to offer forgiveness to one’s wrongdoers. Thus, it is unfortunate that the question of forgiveness’ nature has not been given significant attention in theology. When we turn to the philosophical literature on the nature of forgiveness, we find that much of it proceeds on the assumption that questions in theology are independent of, or irrelevant to, questions of forgiveness’ nature. There are two prominent accounts of the nature of forgiveness in this literature: the foreswearing resentment model and the foregoing punishment model. It is the goal of this paper (i) to assess these popular models of forgiveness by the application of theological constraints on the adequacy of any definition of forgiveness and (ii) to defend an alternative functional definition of forgiveness, that satisfies the theological and philosophical data.”