"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, May 1, 2017

Towards a Theology of Forgiving and Forgetting (I)

Readers may recall that I spent a good bit of time last summer reflecting on David Rieff's book. His is one of several recent treatments of the power and importance of forgetting--Manuel Cruz being the author of another significant coterminous study reviewed here and some possible applications of it discussed here.

Just before either book appeared, there was a collection of academic articles published under the editorship of Hartmut von Sass and Johannes Zachhuber, Forgiving and Forgetting: Theology and the Margins of Soteriology (Mohr Siebeck, 2015), viii +225pp.

About this collection the publisher tells us:
Forgiveness has traditionally been associated with a duty to remember in order for reconciliation to be possible. Human failure, evil, and atrocities could thus only be forgiven on the basis of a saving memory. Forgetting, by contrast, had to be excluded in the interest of a truthful and genuinely new beginning. Historical experience, it seemed, supported this account. The essays collected in this volume seek to challenge this traditional picture - by elaborating on the notion of forgetting, by reappreciating its constructive or even necessary impact on our lives, by paying heed to the potential obstacles for reconciliation due to an unforgiving remembrance, by clarifying the relationship between remembrance and forgetting, which is not necessarily complementary, and by finding new ways of relating forgiveness to forgetting ultimately leading to the precarious question of whether even God forgets when he forgives. Contributors: Aleida Assmann, Agata Bielik-Robson, Brigitte Boothe, Paul Fiddes, George Pattison, Simon D. Podmore, Hartmut von Sass, Lydia Schumacher, Philipp Stoellger, Bradford Vivian, Johannes Zachhuber.
I will have more to say in the coming days about several of the chapters in this very valuable collection. 

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