Love Your Enemies: Retribution and Forgiveness

Jan 14, 2016
University of Chicago
5801 S Ellis Ave
Chicago, IL 60637
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Regina SchwartzNorthwestern University


Regina M. Schwartz (Northwestern University)

cosponsored by the Department of English

The law presumes not only the right but the duty to punish: it does not ask whether it should punish, but how much, who, when, and how. In contrast, Christianity offers a different response to wrongdoing: Jesus engaged in a polemical attack on “the reciprocity code,” the assumption that good should be reciprocated with good and evil with evil. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28). How are we to begin to comprehend this radical difference?

Regina Schwartz is Professor of English at Northwestern University and was just the Tipton Distinguished Visiting Professor in Religious Studies at UC Santa Barbara last year. She is the author of Remembering and Repeating: On Milton’s Theology and Poetics, which won the James Holly Hanford Book Award, The Curse of Cain: The Violent Legacy of Monotheism, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, Sacramental Poetics at the Dawn of Secularism, and the book she just finished explores questions of justice from the Bible to Shakespeare, entitled Loving Justice: Why We Need Shakespeare.