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'Truth' Is a Double-Edged (S)Word: On Truth and the Destruction or Restoration of Relationships'

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This article intends to explore the complex relationship between truth and reconciliation. Reconciliation is described as one of four typical responses to injury, the others being revenge, denial, and cheap forgiveness. With regard to the restoration of human relationships, truth is utilised in a twofold sense: to expose wrongs, and to establish a sacred space for reconciliation. Truth can also provide grounds for revenge and efforts to destroy relationships. Absoluteness, in its exclusivistic and inclusivistic forms, provides a framework within which truth can cause damage to human relationships. Examples of all these 'faces' of truth are found in the Old Testament, especially in the context of human relationships. Our views on reconciliation and truth, and the relationship between the two, will inevitably colour our views on the work of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Committee, and our hopes - or lack of them - for reconciliation in a post-TRC South Africa.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Old Testament University of South Africa PO Box 392, Pretoria, 0003 Republic of South Africa


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