The words ‘forgiveness’ and ‘reconciliation’ are used loosely today and bear a variety of sometimes overlapping meanings. Many believe that the words have come into Western usage from the Judaeo-Christian religious tradition. This paper shows that they have not, though undoubtedly the Christian tradition has shaped the modern understanding of and approach to the interpretation of these words. This paper suggests how the language of forgiveness and reconciliation, understood specifically in the manner of Paul, might be developed as a useful tool for understanding forgiveness and reconciliation as part of human spirituality that is not necessarily within the Christian religious tradition.
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