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God and the VictimTraumatic Intrusions on Grace, and Freedom$
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Jennifer Erin Beste

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195311099

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195311099.001.0001

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 Challenges of Interpersonal Harm for a Theology of Freedom and Grace

 Challenges of Interpersonal Harm for a Theology of Freedom and Grace

(p.3) 1 Challenges of Interpersonal Harm for a Theology of Freedom and Grace
God and the Victim

Jennifer Erin Beste (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces theological questions about the extent to which interpersonal harm can damage an individual's freedom to respond to God's grace and relate with love to oneself, others, and God. It provides an overview of the field of trauma studies, an explanation of posttraumatic stress disorder, and a rationale for focusing on child sexual abuse in the book. Next, this chapter examines historical and contemporary theological perspectives about the impact of interpersonal harm on a person's selfhood, freedom, relationality, and ability to receive and respond to God's grace. The chapter argues that trauma theory challenges cherished Christian beliefs regarding the human self, freedom, and God's grace, and this in turn suggests the need for a revised theology of God's grace and human freedom that resonates with trauma survivors’ experiences and facilitates healing. The purpose of the book is to offer such a theology and explore its resulting ethical implications.

Keywords:   freedom, grace, interpersonal harm, trauma studies, posttraumatic, abuse, healing

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