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In die Skriflig

On-line version ISSN 1018-6441

Abstract

NEL, Marius J.. Interpersonal forgiveness in Matthew 18:15-35. In Skriflig (Online) [online]. 2015, vol.49, n.2, pp. 1-8. ISSN 1018-6441.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/ids.v49i2.1935.

This article examines the description of interpersonal forgiveness in Matthew 18:15-35 in order to evaluate the argument of David Konstan that interpersonal forgiveness, according to the modern understanding thereof, does not occur in the Old or New Testament. Interpersonal forgiveness is described by Konstan as the addressing of an act by an individual, which directly and intentionally had harmed another person. It assumes two active agents: a transgressor and a victim, whom both acknowledge the harmful aspect of a specific act and who are willing to undergo a moral transformation in order to rectify the transgression. The article argues that Matthew 18:23-35 does not, as Konstan claims, refer to the remission of a financial debt, but rather to the forgiveness of moral guilt. It is thus an example of interpersonal forgiveness that expands Matthew's ethics of interpersonal forgiveness significantly. If it is taken into consideration it appears as if the description of Matthew's ethics encompasses more elements underlying the modern understanding of interpersonal forgiveness than have been identified by Konstan.

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