The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World

The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World

Miroslav Volf / Jan 24, 2020

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

  • Title: The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World
  • Author: Miroslav Volf
  • ISBN: 9780802829894
  • Page: 306
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 MirosCan 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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      Published :2019-02-19T14:19:59+00:00

    About "Miroslav Volf"

      • Miroslav Volf

        Miroslav Volf is the Henry B Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School and the founding director of the Yale Center for Faith Culture One of the most celebrated theologians of our time, Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury , Volf is a leading expert on religion and conflict His recent books include Against the Tide Love in a Time of Petty Dreams and Persisting Enmities, and Exclusion Embrace A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation winner of the 2002 Grawmeyer Award in Religion.


    1. This was equally thought provoking and frustrating. His ideas are interesting, but he's only engaging with philosophers and theologians (and not historians or archivists). I also found him equating (or confusing?) personal memory with societal memory and public history. There's an obvious difference between an individual forgetting a traumatic experience and a society forgetting a problematic past, but he floats between those two situations as though they're the same thing, which was both puzzli [...]

    2. A fascinating topic and the book contains some provocative and helpful ideas for integrating memory, particularly of injustice and trauma, into a Christian framework. However, the prose is rather convoluted / excessively dense (for example significant flaws in his logic are sometimes alluded to in asides but not picked up until much later), and lacks concrete engagement with the implications of Volf's ideas - how to apply the ideas in practical ways in response to injustice. Given how directly t [...]

    3. I don't remember any other book rocking my world like this one did. A complete paradigm shift occurred for me because of it.

    4. Volf has had the traumatic experiences required to speak about a topic like this with authority coupled with the academic capacity to look at deep questions with genuine rigour. I read through this book with the staff from my church. It is sometimes repetitive, but a wonderful book to digest and meditate on. If you wonder how you might move beyond a traumatic experiences, or whether you should feel guilty for "moving beyond" something, this could be a helpful book to read.

    5. This was probably one of the best books I would NOT recommend. He asks and answers his questions about remembering rightly wonderfully, but it is his writing style, what I call a casual PhD dissertation, that punches you in the gut just a bit in its readability. It's good, but find someone who has already read it and get the CliffNotes version from them.

    6. Miroslav Volf is an evangelical theologian and professor at Yale Divinity School. He also grew up in the former Yugoslavia and its communist rule. And it is precisely his experiences in Yugoslavia during his year of mandatory military service that provide the focus for this book, a sustained reflection on the meaning of memory and grace with regard to wrongs committed against us.Volf sets up his reflections by recounting his memory of the sustained interrogations to which he was subjected by "Ca [...]

    7. Miroslav Volf sets his sights on the command to love one's enemies, the sternest test of Christian obedience, in The End of Memory. Volf skillfully weaves a personal story onto a scholarly study once again as he did in Exclusion and Embrace. The basis of his take on loving one's enemies for the purposes of this book is his experience of being unjustly interrogated and branded as a subversive rebel by the Yugoslavian military. As Volf works his way through the problem of reconciliation with the e [...]

    8. Another book that brings you to really think about individuals dealing with the memory of wrongs and traumas and how their faith can help them. Some quotes I liked:“We are not just shaped by memories; we ourselves shape the memories that shape us. And since we do so, the consequences are significant; for because we shape our memories, our identities cannot consist simply in what we remember. The question of how we remember also comes into play.”“As trauma literature consistently notes, the [...]

    9. "Seekers of truth, as distinct from alleged possessors of truth, will employ "double vision" - they will give others the benefit of the doubt, they will inhabit imaginatively the world of others, and they will endeavor to view events in question from the perspective of others, not just their own. "(p57-Ch 3 Speaking Truth Practicing Grace)."Excellent Book; Timely. Realistic in its theology and praxis.From :Can one forget atrocities? Should one forgive abusers? Ought we not hope for the final rec [...]

    10. - there are some real gems in this book, particularly about analyses of biblical justice and the connection between memory and forgiveness, as well as the rot of bitterness which is an inability to forgive as God does. Also of interest is the connections drawn between Forgiveness and Gift, which is free to receive.- "Forgivers forgo the punishment of persons who deserve it and release them from the bonds of their guilt. Of course, to obtain this release wrongdoers must receive forgiveness of the [...]

    11. Volf has the ability to write from within a rather evangelical stand point yet be extra ordinarily provoking against cherished beliefs. If someone really shows the scandal of the cross and how extreme the consequences are of the forgiveness God has given through Christ it is Volf. He takes his own life as a starting point which bring credibility to this work and then shows how wrongdoings should be non-remembred. I particularly like his thoughts on the world to come as like being wrapped complet [...]

    12. Een verrassende en inspirerende kijk op hoe om te gaan met herinneren. Dit specifiek toegespitst op misdaden die je zijn aangedaan. Is 'altijd' blijven herinneren het beste in het verwerkingsproces? De kans dat hierbij door gebrekkige herinnering een vertekend beeld gecreëerd wordt en/of gehandhaafd blijft is een reëel gevaar. Daarmee kan het altijd blijven herinneren juist een drempel worden voor het verwerken van zulke ervaringen. Zijn er andere opties? Vanuit een christelijk standpunt schet [...]

    13. This is a brilliant work of psychological theology. Volf argues for a correct remembering of wrongs done to us in order that we may enact what he calls "non-remembrance." Volf builds this theory on his own experience of interrogation in Yugoslavia and the wrongs done to him by Captain G. The book ends in a beautiful imagined reconciliation with his interrogator. Volf also engages with the work of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Freud on the necessity of forgetting and shows how the logic of forgetfu [...]

    14. This is a book everyone should read. Volf writes about how we deal with the wrongs committed not just against us but against humanity (the Holocaust, the Killing Fields, etc). His basic thesis is that evil lives when a wrong is perpetrated against us. That evil would die with that act if we would let it, but we don't. We allow it to live on in us either in the form of self-loathing (how could I let this happen to me?) or in the form of vengeance or both. But since it isn't wise to forget our own [...]

    15. At worst this book was redundant and perhaps a little too wordy. At best, it wonderfully depicted the tension that comes with remembrance in a world of injustice. Volf draws from his own experience as well as the writings of everyone from Dante to Elie Wiesel to ask how we, as Christians living in a violent world, are to react/act towards injustice. Volf draws on the conviction that retributive justice denies the justice of God: "The first victory (for evil) happens when an evil deed is perpetra [...]

    16. I highly recommend this book. We have all been wronged by others, and we have all wronged others. We live in a fallen world where sin and its effects are realities. Remembering wrongs and the resultant hurts and wounds to our souls are natural consequences which can engulf us if not addressed. "As Christians, we have no option when it comes to reconciling, since failing to reconcile with fellow human beings for whom Christ died to reconcile them to God and to each other is to reject God's work o [...]

    17. I really should not have taken a 2 month break while reading this book. However, I think I needed to digest and apply what I had read up to that time. Memory is such an amazing concept to me, and the more I think about it, the more I understand we need it to relate to EVERYTHING: ourselves, community, God, the past, the present, the future. Yet at the same time, it's so notoriously unreliable. I wrote a little more about it here at the Wheelhouse Review:thewheelhousereview/20This will definitely [...]

    18. An absolute must read for the serious student of human transformation.Every new creation in Christ must deal with memory. Positive memories may blind one to the great opportunities of today and tomorrow and negative memories may paralyze the soul in the past.When I meet a person in heaven, from whom I have received much pain, will I remember the situation, the pain, and the person?In brief, Volf makes it clear that in a world of perfect and complete love, one may remember but the memory simply w [...]

    19. How we remember justly and mercifully and truthfully matters. Miroslav Volf examines and questions some of our larger culturally cherished notions of what is just, merciful, and truthful in remembering. Whether you agree in whole or in part will be partly theological, partly personal, and partly whether you agree with his reasoning. An interesting addition to the works on ethics and memory, and a text with which to dialogue, particularly with other works on ethics and memory from other religious [...]

    20. Golf takes on the task of describing the relationship of memory, faith, and forgiveness, which is not an easy one. He is coming from a specifically Christian perspective, though much of what he says could have a wider appeal. He talks about what it means to remember "rightly" and "justly." Our capacity for forgiveness swings as much on how we remember as much as what we recall. He gave me a lot to think about.

    21. 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 to judge others, and ourselves, rightly. Very good on the complexities of memory, and a very moving personal story too.

    22. It was an ok thought experiment mostly--it's the first Volf I've read and I don't know if he's usually this exhaustive or not. I had a hard time being deeply interested in it though. There were some good points throughout though. It could probably have been 75 pages shorter.

    23. I only gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 because Dr. Volf repeats himself a bit too much, in my opinion. Part memoir, part theological exploration, part dialogue with thinkers of the past, this book gives a deep and honest answer to the question of what it really means to "forgive and forget."

    24. Challenging book about the complexity of true forgiveness and the journey towards ‘not bringing to mind’, written by a man who had undergone intense interrogation in Yugoslavia.

    25. A most unique book exploring the much neglected realm of forgiveness, memories and future reconciliation as grounded in the work of Christ.

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