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Abstract

This article addresses justice as an issue in public theology. Since Christian theology and practice has engaged in violence in the name of justice (human and divine), the notion of justice is examined here so that it may better serve peace and reconciliation. In particular, the relation of justice to punishment, vengeance and morality are key issues, if justice is to serve peace. In my discussion I gain insights from South Africa's experience of the transition from apartheid to democracy, where justice became a central public issue. I bring advocates of punitive and restorative justice into conversation in order to establish what satisfies justice (punishment or healing), and I draw implications from this to how we are to understand divine justice. Finally, the atonement is reconsidered as a form of transitional justice.

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