33.2 | Maria Aaftink

God on Trial: Forgiveness and Justice in the Trial of Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow

Atrocities challenge not only our belief in justice, but they also pose
serious challenges to our ability to continue living in the aftermath
of injustice. The Sparrow (1996), by Mary Doria Russell, is a science fiction story about a Jesuit mission to an alien planet, during which the human characters are confronted with atrocities; the response to being involved in such events is a central theme of the novel. Using Eliezer Berkovits’ Holocaust theology, Jacques Derrida’s approach to forgiveness and justice, and Yasco Horsman’s conceptualization of the trial as a healing event, I analyse how The Sparrow points to possibilities of restoring justice.