Cover: Generating Forgiveness

Hilarie Roseman

Generating Forgiveness and Constructing Peace through Truthful Dialogue: Abrahamic Perspectives

20.00 USD
xv + 413 pages, paperback, english language
published: April 2014
ISBN 978-1-937570-48-4

About this book

How do members of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic organizations address unresolved questions of reconciliation and forgiveness? Mending links means forgetting and disposing of old hurtful memories, looking carefully at human needs, and with the love and forgiveness that religions teach, working together to construct peace.

In this book which is based on her Ph.D. thesis, the author clearly describes the essence of reconciliation and forgiveness.


In interfaith encounter groups, the people of the Abrahamic religions are drawing together in dialogue rather than conflict. The core research question in this thesis is “How are people of Abrahamic faiths, faiths that are implicated in a geopolitical confrontation, able to cooperate within religious organizations?” The analysis is comparative. On the analectic continuum, it stems from a deductive set of questions, but takes into account some inductive emerging issues. 15 participants, perceived as role models for the language of peace, were interviewed at great depth. Social, scientific, and religious knowledge from a questionnaire was discussed by four focus groups consisting of Jews, Christians and Muslims. Commitment to religion, enemy images of each other, ethical dialogue, forgiveness, and the construction of peace made up the discussions. Peace was constructed by remediation of negative attitudes and behavior that often involved hospitality and always involved deep listening. Differences and identities in Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions were clearly stated, but also their commonalities: human needs such as respect and safety, and the religious text to love God and neighbour. They defined this God as forgiving and compassionate, and neighbour as “everyone”. There was a change in their interests, which expanded to all three Abrahamic religions and their language of peace included discussing difficult issues such as the re-examination of their texts, and the paramount need to be open, generous and brave. Their dialogue rose above differences to enable them to lay a reasonable, achievable foundation for a peace, based on human needs and common texts. All participants were reasonably well-informed and well-educated believers committed to their own faith tradition and able to communicate its inner values and spirit. A model was extracted from this research that shows the pathway from externally mediated images of geopolitical conflict to practical expressions of cooperation and peace within interfaith groups. This is an historical social change.


Abstract x
Declaration xii
Acknowledgements xii
Personal Statement xiii

Chapter One: Introduction

Introduction 1
Foundational Flows of Information 2
Abrahamic Religions in Australia 5
Prior Research in Australia 6
The Problem 7
Background to the Abrahamic Religions 8
Interfaith Organizations 17
Social Science and Religion 18
Research Objectives 25
Structure of the Thesis 26
Summary 28

Chapter Two: Intercultural Communication and Conflict

Introduction 29
The Nature of the Human Being
in the World 30
International Level 37
Cooperation at the International Level 43
Cooperation at an Organizational Level 52
Theories of Forgiveness 62
Signs of Reconciliation 67
Summary 69

Chapter Three: Peace, Forgiveness and Ethical Communication

Introduction 71
Social Science Review 73
Humanities Review 80
Religious Discourse Review 97
Non-Government Organization Discourse
Review 102
Frames of Reference 107
Summary 117

Chapter Four: Communication and Conflict Resolution

Introduction 119
The Case of Blacks and Whites in
South Africa 121
The Case of Northern Ireland and the
Republic of Ireland 130
The Case of Israel and Palestine 141
The Role of Religion 149
The Process of Reconciliation 156
Summary 158

Chapter Five: Research Methodology

Introduction 161
Methodological Reflections 161
Social Change 166
Focus Group Interviews 176
Research Process 184
Summary 191

Chapter Six: Activity Report - Focus Groups

Introduction 193
The Participants 193
Introduction to Coding of Questions 201
Enemy Images in Responses to
Set Questions 203
Focus Groups and the Journey from
Fear to Friendship 214
The Construction of Peace 220
Summary 222

Chapter Seven: Behaviour and Attitudes of Participants
in the Focus Groups

Introduction 225
Open Coding Analysis 226
Social Change: Values and Interests 229
Values and Leadership 236
Communication and Sustainability of
Social Change 238
Soft Power or Propaganda 247
Key Ideas in the Focus Groups 252
Discussion of Findings in Terms of Theory 253
Sequence of Frameworks for
Communication in the Focus Groups 259
Summary 265

Chapter Eight: Conclusion

Introduction 267
Social Change 268
Has the Research Question Been
Answered and How? 269
Critical Self-Reflection 273
Future Prospects 274
Universal Themes 275
Future Research 280
Conclusion 282

Appendices 283
Bibliography 381

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About the author

Hilarie Roseman worked in TV advertising in Australia and in London, then as Family Life Educator and as interviewer for Catholic radio and television programs. Her studies comprised theology, sociology, communication research and visual arts. After submitting the thesis presented in this book she graduated as Dr. of Philosophy of International Communication in May 2014.
Hilarie has worked with the Sociological Imagination Group with Prof. Bernard Phillips, and with Evelin G. Lindner and the Dignity and Humiliation Studies network. Hilarie and her husband John Bardsley Roseman have eight children and 13 grandchildren.