Teshuva: A Look at Repentance, Forgiveness and Atonement in Jewish Law and Philosophy and American Legal Thought
Samuel J. Levine
Touro Law Center
Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 27, No. 5, 2000
Professor Levine examines the atonement model and its relevance to American law. He outlines and explains the necessary steps by the wrongdoer for atonement: repentance, apology, reparation and penance. The wronged party then has the obligation of reconciliation for the process to be complete. Despite the prominent position it has held for millennia in religious thinking, the atonement model is relatively new to American legal theory. Professor Stephen Garvey's attempt to offer a systematic depiction and analysis of the process of atonement and its possible relevance to American law appears to represent the most extensive effort to date. Any application of a theory of atonement to the American legal system, however, will encounter a number of problems and objections. In a time where the prevailing models of punishment: deterrence, retribution, and restoration fall short, the model of atonement provides a new theory of punishment for American legal thought to consider in the future.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 17
Keywords: teshuva, repentance, atonement, jewish law
JEL Classification: K14Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 9, 2008 ; Last revised: October 16, 2008
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