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The scientific study of forgiveness is a new approach to an age-old problem. For thousands of years, people have practiced forgiveness within religious systems. Now, the field of scholarly research of forgiveness reveals the beneficial aspects of the process.

Contributors include Elliot Dorff and Martin Marty discussing religious interpretations, followed by social implications explained by Kenneth Pargament and Mark Rye. Roy Baumeister, Julie Exline, and Kristin Sommer present the victim’s point of view. Other contributors focusing on the forgiveness research are: Everett Worthington, Robert Enright, Catherine Coyle, Carl Thoresen, Frederic Luskin, and Alex Harris. An annotated bibliography by Michael McCullough, Julie Exline, and Roy Baumeister, covers the empirical literature on the subject. Lewis Smedes concludes with the four steps necessary for forgiveness: moving from estrangement to forgiveness to reconciliation to hope.

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