Burying the Past: Making Peace and Doing Justice After Civil Conflict, Expanded and Updated Edition

Georgetown University Press
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No one can deny how September 11, 2001, has altered our understandings of "Peace" and "Justice" and "Civil Conflict." Those have become words with startling new life in our vocabularies. Yet "making" peace and "doing" justice must remain challenges that are among the highest callings of humanity—especially in a terror-heightened world. Nigel Biggar, Christian ethicist and editor of this now more than ever "must read" (Choice) volume, newly expanded and updated, addresses head-on the concept of a redemptive burying of the past, urging that the events of that infamous date be approached as a transnational model of conflict-and suggesting, wisely and calmly, that justice can be even the better understood if we should undertake the very important task of locating the sources of hostility, valid or not, toward the West.

Burying the Past asks these important questions: How do newly democratic nations put to rest the conflicts of the past? Is granting forgiveness a politically viable choice for those in power? Should justice be restorative or retributive? Beginning with a conceptual approach to justice and forgiveness and moving to an examination of reconciliation on the political and on the psychological level, the collection examines the quality of peace as it has been forged in the civil conflicts in Rwanda, South Africa, Chile, Guatemala and Northern Ireland.

There are times in history when "making peace" and "doing justice" seem almost impossible in the face of horrendous events. Those responses are understandably human. But it is in times just like these when humanity can—and must—rise to its possibilities and to its higher purposes in order to continue considering itself just and humane.

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About the author

Nigel Biggar is professor of theology at the University of Leeds, where he directs the Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion, Ethics, and Public Life. His previous books include Good Life: Reflections on What We Value Today and Theological Politics: A Critique of "Faith in the City."

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Additional Information

Publisher
Georgetown University Press
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Published on
May 22, 2003
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781589012868
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / International Relations / General
Religion / Religion, Politics & State
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Too often, says Nigel Biggar, contemporary Christian ethics poses a false choice either conservative theological integrity or liberal secular consensus. Behaving in Public explains both why and how Christians should resist these polar options. Informed by a frankly Christian theological vision of moral life and so turning toward the world with openness and curiosity, Biggar s succinct argument charts a third way forward. Common sense is usually bland and boring. Nigel Biggar s book Behaving in Public, however, is full of common sense that is anything but bland and boring. That s because Biggar employs his common sense polemically to show what s deficient in one and another position on speaking as a Christian in public, and to point to alternatives. Over and over I found myself saying, Yes, of course; he s right. This is a wonderfully fresh, perceptive, and sensible discussion. Nicholas Wolterstorff Yale University How can the church witness effectively in public debates in modern, mostly secular societies, without either losing its integrity or imposing its perspectives on others? In this important new book Nigel Biggar maintains that the integrity of the Christian message should not be confused with distinctiveness. . . . Offers a nuanced yet demanding position on the public role of the church, cutting through unhelpful dichotomies and reminding us that theological seriousness need not be sectarian or intolerant. Jean Porter University of Notre Dame Clear in thought, elegant in expression, and generous in dialogue, this book offers a new and convincing approach to Christian ethics. . . . Biggar argues for the integrity of a mature, discriminating, nonmoralizing Christian ethics which is inspired and equipped for critical engagement with the church and the wider public and which cares about the flourishing of both. Werner G. Jeanrond University of Glasgow Behaving in Public shows people who care about public life how to combine theological integrity and political effectiveness. . . . This is a theology that offers an alternative to today s polarized politics. Robin W. Lovin Southern Methodist University
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