The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World
Can one forget atrocities? Should one forgive abusers? Ought we not hope for the final reconciliation of all the wronged and all wrongdoers alike, even if it means spending eternity with perpetrators of evil? We live in an age when...
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Can one forget atrocities? Should one forgive abusers? Ought we not hope for the final reconciliation of all the wronged and all wrongdoers alike, even if it means spending eternity with perpetrators of evil? We live in an age when it is generally accepted that past wrongs - genocides, terrorist attacks, bald personal injustices - should be constantly remembered. But Miroslav Volf here proposes the radical idea that letting go of such memories - after a certain point and under certain conditions - may actually be the appropriate course of action.
While agreeing with the claim that to remember a wrongdoing is to struggle against it, Volf notes that there are too many ways to remember wrongly, perpetuating the evil committed rather than guarding against it. In this way, "the just sword of memory often severs the very good it seeks to defend." He argues that remembering rightly has implications not only for the individual but also for the wrongdoer and for the larger community.
Volf's personal stories of persecution offer a compelling backdrop for his search for theological resources to make memories a wellspring of healing rather than a source of deepening pain and animosity. Controversial, thoughtful, and incisively reasoned, The End of Memory begins a conversation hard to ignore.
Miroslav Volf (Dr. Theol., University of Tubingen) is the Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture and the Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology. Professor Volf's recent books include Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace (2006), Archbishop of Canterbury Lenten book for 2006; Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (1996), a winner of the 2002 Grawemeyer Award; After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity (1998), winner of the Christianity Today book award, and The End Of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World.
A member of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. and the Evangelical Church in Croatia, Professor Volf was involved in international ecumenical dialogues (for instance, with the Vatican Council for Promotion of Christian Unity) and interfaith dialogues (most recently in Christian-Muslim dialogue). A native of Croatia, he regularly teaches and lectures in Central and Eastern Europe.
Koorong -Editorial Review.
- Part One Remember! Memory Of Interrogations Memory: Shield And Sword Part Two How Should We Remember? Speaking Truth, Practicing Grace Wounded Self, Healed Memories Frameworks Of Memories Memory, The Exodus, And The Passion Part Three How Long Should We Remember? River Of Memory, River Of Forgetting Defenders Of Forgetting Redemption: Harmonizing And Driving Out Rapt In Goodness Postscript: An Imagined Reconciliation Afterword Acknowledgments Index