chapter  2
19 Pages

Unconditional Forgiveness in Christianity? Some Refl ections on Ancient Christian Sources and Practices


There is a debate in the philosophical literature about whether or not forgiveness is unconditional, and it seems widely claimed that ‘the Christian’ view is that it is unconditional,2 sometimes also with an emphasis on the psychological benefi ts of unconditional forgiveness.3 Is that an accurate view? This has not been systematically investigated. Therefore, I shall tackle this question by going back to the origins of Christianity and carefully analyzing the sources at our disposal. In fact, there is much evidence in the New Testament and in early Christian history, literature, and philosophy to support the idea that Christianity does not necessarily recommend unconditional forgiveness.