Comparative Confession: A Comparative Study of Confession in the Writings of Tertullian, Cassian, and Śāntideva, by Joseph Kimmel

This paper comparatively analyzes confession of sin across three Christian and Buddhist texts. Specifically, the paper compares the diverse ways in which confession is presented in Tertullian’s De Paenitentia, St. John Cassian’s Conferences, and Śāntideva’s Bodhicaryāvatāra. In so doing, the paper not only highlights the multiplicity of forms confessional practices may take (both between religious traditions and within a particular tradition), but also underscores the common theme among all three authors of confession’s fundamental role in personal transformation. After analyzing each author’s understanding of confession and its effects (encompassing spiritual, moral, and emotional domains), the paper concludes with a discussion of theological and ministerial implications.

Keywords: confession, sin, personal transformation, Buddhist-Christian studies, Tertullian, John Cassian, Śāntideva, ministry

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