Burying the Past: Making Peace and Doing Justice After Civil Conflict, Expanded and Updated Edition

Front Cover
Nigel Biggar
Georgetown University Press, May 22, 2003 - Political Science - 368 pages
1 Review

No one can deny how September 11, 2001, has altered our understandings of "Peace" and "Justice" and "Civil Conflict." Those have become words with startling new life in our vocabularies. Yet "making" peace and "doing" justice must remain challenges that are among the highest callings of humanity—especially in a terror-heightened world. Nigel Biggar, Christian ethicist and editor of this now more than ever "must read" (Choice) volume, newly expanded and updated, addresses head-on the concept of a redemptive burying of the past, urging that the events of that infamous date be approached as a transnational model of conflict-and suggesting, wisely and calmly, that justice can be even the better understood if we should undertake the very important task of locating the sources of hostility, valid or not, toward the West.

Burying the Past asks these important questions: How do newly democratic nations put to rest the conflicts of the past? Is granting forgiveness a politically viable choice for those in power? Should justice be restorative or retributive? Beginning with a conceptual approach to justice and forgiveness and moving to an examination of reconciliation on the political and on the psychological level, the collection examines the quality of peace as it has been forged in the civil conflicts in Rwanda, South Africa, Chile, Guatemala and Northern Ireland.

There are times in history when "making peace" and "doing justice" seem almost impossible in the face of horrendous events. Those responses are understandably human. But it is in times just like these when humanity can—and must—rise to its possibilities and to its higher purposes in order to continue considering itself just and humane.


What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - johnthefireman - LibraryThing

A very useful collection of essays on peace and justice after civil conflict. Plenty of reflection on the complementarity of peace and justice, and some good analysis of restorative justice. It includes case studies. Read full review

Selected pages


Making Peace or Doing Justice Must We Choose?
Where and When in Political Life Is Justice Served by Forgiveness?
Politics and Forgiveness
The Philosophy and Practice of Dealing with the Past Some Conceptual and Normative Issues
Innovating Responses to the Past Human Rights Institutions
National and Community Reconciliation Competing Agendas in the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Putting the Past in Its Place Issues of Victimhood and Reconciliation in Northern Irelands Peace Process
Passion Constraint Law and Fortuna The Human Rights Challenge to Chilean Democracy
War Peace and the Politics of Memory in Guatemala
Restorative Justice in Social Context The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Rwanda Dealing with Genocide and Crimes against Humanity in the Context of Armed Conflict and Failed Political Transition
Northern Ireland Burying the Hatchet Not the Past
Burying the Past after September 11

Does the Truth Heal? A Psychological Perspective on Political Strategies for Dealing with the Legacy of Political Violence

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2003)

Nigel Biggar is professor of theology at the University of Leeds, where he directs the Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion, Ethics, and Public Life. His previous books include Good Life: Reflections on What We Value Today and Theological Politics: A Critique of "Faith in the City."

Bibliographic information