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.
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."