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Abstract

Within an overall framework of reconciliation as a transformation of mimetic structures of violence to mimetic structures of blessing, teachings of blessing are needed throughout the process. “Teachings” are considered as paradigmatic stories, principles, insights, and practical wisdom that are derived both from religious traditions and the human sciences. “Blessing” refers to that which contributes to sustained human well-being at the individual, collective and relational levels. A hermeneutics of blessing is a deliberate interpretive endeavour directed toward the generation of teachings of blessing. It can be used with any particular source and the insights can be both direct and inverse, identifying what is helpful and not helpful for reconciliation processes. John E. Toews, biblical scholar specializing on the book of Romans in the New Testament, is examined as someone practicing a hermeneutics of blessing. His paradigm of Romans shows how it can be viewed as a letter addressing an identity-based conflict involving Jews and Gentiles. A set of practical teachings of blessing is synthesized from Romans 12 to 15, using the Toews hermeneutical paradigm.

Author Bio(s)

Vern Neufeld Redekop is an Associate Professor in the Conflict Studies program at Saint Paul University. In his former role as President of the Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution, he developed and ran a series of two-day interactive, generative seminars and worked with a Rwandan and Bosnian on Community-Based Conflict Resolution programs in their respective countries. His theoretical and practical insights found expression in his book, From Violence to Blessing: How an Understanding of Deep-Rooted Conflict Can Open Paths to Reconciliation (2002). His latest book (with Shirley Paré) is Beyond Control: A Mutual Respect Approach to Protest Crowd—Police Relations (2010). Email: vredekop@ustpaul.ca

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