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Roman Polanski and the Challenge of Forgiveness

Roman Polanski and the Challenge of Forgiveness

One of the most fascinating events for those interested in the relationship between religion and secularism occurred in 1997. In 1997, Geimer publicly forgave Polanski. This event has caused some scholars of religion to reflect on complex questions: Does forgiveness, a nominally “Judeo-Christian” practice, have a place in the American law system, or in the public sphere? Or is this too simple a reduction? Some might argue that forgiveness is a universal practice, one practiced across many different cultures. In either case, there seems to be a strong aversion to substituting punishment with forgiveness in the U.S. (with perhaps the exception of a presidential pardon). Our law, in general, centers around a retributive form of justice, one in which criminals have to “pay” for their crime with their time, labor, or life. Forgiveness flies in the face of this kind of justice.

Year of Living Biblically: A Book Review

Year of Living Biblically: A Book Review

Throughout the year long transformation documented in his book, Jacobs’ life goes from being a secular endeavor to a routine suitable for living a biblical existence. He undergoes such feats as: blowing a rams horn or shofar to signal the start of every month, avoids making any graven images, opting instead for two-dimensional shapes even when he’s playing with his son, refrains from touching all women for fear of their being ‘unclean’ that week, even carries around a chair to ensure he never sits somewhere an ‘unclean’ woman may have, the consulting of a shatnez (mixed fiber) tester to make sure the cloth of what he wears is only made of one kind of fiber, and the adherence to biblical laws about eating which besides providing forbiddance against cheeseburgers, also lead to the tasting of a cricket.