Does Forgiveness Violate Justice?

Nicholas Woltersstorff


A charge commonly lodged against forgiveness is that it violates justice. My lecture is an evaluation of this charge. Almost always the charge is developed by assuming that forgiveness requires foregoing punishment of the wrongdoer whereas justice requires punishment. My conclusion is that this charge cannot be sustained; though full and complete forgiveness does require foregoing punishment, foregoing punishment is not necessarily a violation of justice. I concede, however, that if a just deterrence system is in place, then, whereas full and complete forgiveness requires foregoing the imposition of deterrence sanctions, justice may well require the imposition of such sanctions.

Where: VU Main Building, fourth floor Lecture room 04A00
When: October 16, 2014 – 3.30-5.15pm