Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor

Vincent Lloyd - Committee Chair

Second Advisor

Peter Lindsay - Committee Member

Third Advisor

Timothy Renick - Committee Member


This essay traces two trends in current philosophical and theological debates concerning forgiveness. One, advocated by Vladimir Jankélévitch and Jacques Derrida, I label “impossible” forgiveness. The second, advanced by John Milbank and L. Gregory Jones, I label “communal” forgiveness. I explore and critically examine each of these positions in the first two sections of the thesis. In the last section of the thesis I examine a recent conversation amongst religious ethicists against the background of the theoretical conversations described in the first half of the essay. Bringing the theoretical conversation together with the religious ethicists’ conversation, I argue that whether or not we embrace forgiveness depends in large part in what tradition, religious or secular, we place ourselves.

Included in

Religion Commons