Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Everett L. Worthington Jr.Email author
  • Jennifer S. Ripley
  • Don E. Davis
  • Benjamin T. Wood
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_246

Every major religion endorses forgiveness as a virtue. The religious perspectives have brought forth numerous practical and theoretical understandings of forgiveness for centuries. In the last 20 years, the field of psychology has pursued the scientific study of forgiveness. Can this study add to what millennia of religious thought and practice has taught humankind?

Science as a New Tool

Peter Galison (2003) has put forth an understanding of scientific revolutions in understanding, which attributes the seeds of change to the development of new tools. The invention of the telescope paved the way for observing phenomena that were not observable in Newtonian physics. The new data eventually created problems for the old paradigm. According to Galison, a revolution in a scientific field is due more to applying new tools to a phenomenon than simply to providing a re-conceptualization of the phenomenon.

The scientific study of forgiveness has brought a new tool to its study and practice – the...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Everett L. Worthington Jr.
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jennifer S. Ripley
    • 2
  • Don E. Davis
    • 3
  • Benjamin T. Wood
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.School of Psychology and CounselingRegent UniversityVirginia BeachUSA
  3. 3.Department of Counseling and Psychological ServicesGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Massachusetts College of Liberal ArtsNorth AdamsUSA