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Durham e-Theses
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Some sacramental and pastoral approaches to forgiveness

Burns, Stephen (1993) Some sacramental and pastoral approaches to forgiveness. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis gathers a variety of perspectives on forgiveness. It steps outside the Christian tradition to seek the contribution of the social sciences as well as considering biblical data and theological debate. It suggests forgiveness has wide meanings, and may entail many things, though there are no set answers or sure methods of guaranteeing the 'success' of attempts to engage in forgiveness. Its dual foci are approaches - past and present - to the 'sacrament' of penance and to pastoral care and counselling. Problems which attend to each are considered; two texts Kierkegaard's Purity of Heart and Bonhoeffer's Spiritual Care - are given special attention; the psychoanalytical technique of transference is assessed. Horizons are progressively widened and connections made between approaches. It argues that there are currents in contemporary culture and society which might desensitise persons to the potential relevance of forgiveness and that the task of those engaged in the caring traditions of the church ought to be to enable persons to respond with creativity and, where appropriate, resistance, in their attempts to give and receive forgiveness. Because it is concerned to resist the over-systematisation of diverse approaches, it argues that rather than adherence to strict criteria, a capacity to renew relationships is shared by the perspectives it considers, which in turn confirms a need to be more generous about what we affirm as genuine forgiveness and less judgmental about what we chose to call its counterfeits.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1993
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Nov 2012 10:58

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