A. M. Sinclair has proved that if is a semisimple Banach algebra then every continuous Jordan derivation from into is a derivation ([12, theorem 3·3]; ‘Jordan derivation’ is denned in Section 6 below). If is a Banach -bimodule one can consider Jordan derivations from into and ask whether Sinclair's theorem is still true. More recent work in this area appears in . Simple examples show that it cannot hold for all modules and all semisimple algebras. However, for more restricted classes of algebras, including C*-algebras one does get a positive result and we develop two approaches. The first depends on symmetric amenability, a development of the theory of amenable Banach algebras which we present here for the first time in Sections 2, 3 and 4. A Banach algebra is symmetrically amenable if it has an approximate diagonal consisting of symmetric tensors. Most, but not all, amenable Banach algebras are symmetrically amenable and one can prove results for symmetric amenability similar to those in  for amenability. However, unlike amenability, symmetric amenability does not seem to have a concise homological characterisation. One of our results [Theorem 6·2] is that if is symmetrically amenable then every continuous Jordan derivation into an -bimodule is a derivation. Special techniques enable this result to be extended to other algebras, for example all C*-algebras. This approach to Jordan derivations appears in Section 6.
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