Reconciliation, Divine and Human
June 6-8, 2019 at the University of St Andrews
The concept of reconciliation is central to the theology and ethics of the Judaeo-Christian tradition. In recent decades, moreover, its political relevance has come increasingly to the fore. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, for example, proved to be a vital element in the peaceful transition from apartheid to democracy in South Africa.
Despite the prominent use of the term ‘reconciliation’, there is a lack of clarity as to how precisely it is to be understood. There is unclarity about: (1) how it is interpreted in the Biblical sources; (2) how precisely it should be conceived theologically when it refers to the nature of God’s dealings with and rescue of a sinful humanity; (3) the implications of God’s reconciliation for humanity’s alienated mindset (Col 1:21); (4) how we construe the means of reconciliation in the inter-personal and socio-political contexts; (5) the relationship between reconciliation, forgiveness, and the pursuit of justice.
Consequently, the purpose of this conference is to encourage careful analysis of: (1) how this term should be construed in the theological and social/societal contexts; (2) how the conditions for reconciliation are to be conceived in these contexts; and (3) the implications of a theological understanding of divine reconciliation for a) understanding the relationship between human beings and God and b) for addressing dysfunctional relationships between human beings in contexts of conflict and alienation.