The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World (Google eBook)

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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2006 - Psychology - 244 pages
11 Reviews
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.

Volfs 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.


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Review: The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World

User Review  - Samuel Garcia - Goodreads

It was a bit slow and repetitive to start but then turned into an astounding and profound meditation on the ethics of memory. Volf paints a wonderful portrait of the world to come and how that affects relationships now. Read full review

Review: The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World

User Review  - John - Goodreads

A moving book, at many points. I don't want to say too much about his theological perspective--it irritates me sometimes. However, he is very apt in describing all the possible ways in which we refuse ... Read full review

Selected pages


Memory of Interrogations
Memory A Shield and a Sword
How Should We Remember?
Speaking Truth Practicing Grace
Wounded Self Healed Memories
Frameworks of Memories
Memory the Exodus and the Passion
How Long Should We Remember?
Defenders of Forgetting
Redemption Harmonizing and Driving Out
Rapt in Goodness
An Imagined Reconciliation

River of Memory River of Forgetting

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Page 8 - An' then, all of a sudden, it stopped, an' I said, ' Dar 's de white folks, that have abused you an' beat you an' abused your people, ó think o' them ! ' But then there came another rush of love through my soul, an...

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About the author (2006)

Miroslav Volf is Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture and Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology at Yale Divinity School.

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