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Can Neoclassical Economics Handle a Scriptural View of Forgiveness?

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Abstract

This article assesses whether traditional economic models are capable of sufficiently representing the phenomenon of forgiveness in a meaningful manner. We employ the Holy Scriptures of the Christian faith, as well as writings of both Jewish and Christian authors, to consider carefully what features a model of forgiveness should contain and whether traditional economic modeling can accommodate such features. That is, we ask whether the conventional methods of economics are broad enough and robust enough to “handle” the phenomenon of forgiveness. We find that economics can indeed handle a scriptural view of forgiveness, and we also suggest that such a view must be incorporated in any economic model of forgiveness. This article makes significant contributions to the literature of forgiveness. We define and differentiate both strong and weak forms of forgiveness. We also present a heuristic model of how injury, apology, and forgiveness can transpire between two parties. We are aware of no other model of forgiveness present in any discipline that incorporates the strong form of forgiveness.

John N. Oswalt and Victor V. Claar, "Can Neoclassical Economics Handle a Scriptural View of Forgiveness?" Journal of Markets & Morality 9, no. 1 (Spring 2006): 71-89


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