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date: 20 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In early Christianity, conflict resolution that involved decisions about exclusion and reintegration of community members was often ritualized as excommunication, penance, confession of sins, and intercession. Mediation of divine forgiveness of sin was central to the rituals that reintegrated transgressing community members and reconciled them with the community. This chapter discusses the experience of ritual forgiveness of sins, the reintegrative shame of penance and confession, confession as costly signalling of commitment, and confession and intercession as social identity maintenance.

Keywords: commitment signalling, confession of sins, conflict resolution, exclusion, forgiveness, game theory, intercession for sins, marginalization, penance, reintegration

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