Chapter 5: A secular form of grace: A place for utopia in law
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This contribution elaborates on what Levitas means with the understanding of the religious notion of grace in a secular context. This secular quest for grace is connected with the longing for Heimat with the goal and for the benefit of a good or even a better society. If people or parties disagree about the nature of the common good, they still can demonstrate graciousness. The notion of grace will be considered both from the Jewish (Tanakh) and from the Christian (New Testament) perspectives. This includes the notion of sin, as the religious understanding of grace cannot ignore the notion of sin. Moreover, this chapter contains the theological elaboration of both grace and sin by Paul Tillich, on whom Levitas relies in her work, but it includes also the thoughts of Abraham Kuyper and Dana Freibach-Heifetz about the theological notion of grace in a secular context. This is followed by a section on the application of secular grace in the principles of fairness and equity in (corporate) law. The aim of this contribution is to find an answer to the question of how the notion of (religious) grace is applied in a secular context, in particular in the principles of fairness and equity in law, as expressions of longing for a better world and contributing to the common good. The notion of grace is not only a critique of a society wherein the notion of grace is excluded, but it also provides hope for a hopeless world.