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The End of Memory
Remembering Rightly in a Violent World
HARDCOVER; Published: 1/12/2021
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7867-0
Price: $ 24.99
308 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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Winner of the Christianity Today Book Award in Christianity and Culture 

How should we remember atrocities? Should we ever forgive abusers? Can we not hope for final reconciliation, even if it means redeemed victims and perpetrators spending eternity together? 

We live in an age that insists that past wrongs—genocides, terrorist attacks, bald personal injustices—should never be forgotten. 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 a gift of grace we should embrace. Volf’s personal stories of persecution and interrogation frame 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 that we avoid to our great detriment. 

This second edition includes an appendix on the memories of perpetrators as well as victims, a response to critics, and a James K. A. Smith interview with Volf about the nature and function of memory in the Christian life.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition
Part One: Remember!
     1. Memory of Interrogations
     2. Memory: Shield and Sword
Part Two: How Should We Remember?
     3. Speaking Truth, Practicing Grace
     4. Wounded Self, Healed Memories
     5. Frameworks of Memories
     6. Memory, the Exodus, and the Passion
Part Three: How Long Should We Remember?
     7. River of Memory, River of Forgetting
     8. Defenders of Forgetting
     9. Redemption: Harmonizing and Driving Out
     10. Rapt in Goodness
Postscript: An Imagined Reconciliation
On Memories of Victims and Perpetrators
Epilogue: Fifteen Years Later
Interview with James K. A. Smith

“Existentially charged and disciplined, learned and readable, sophisticated and accessible, orthodox and open.”
— Reviews in Religion and Theology
The End of Memory is a book that had to be written. From many quarters in present-day society comes the cry, ‘Remember the wrongs done to you.’ Miroslav Volf agrees with that cry but cogently argues that remembering wrongs can be done wrongly. With great learning and deep humane wisdom he reflects on how we can rightly remember the wrongs done to us. In all of Volf’s writing, theology illuminates life and life illuminates theology. Here this two-way illumination is at its very brightest.”
— Nicholas Wolterstorff
author of Lament for a Son
“In this hauntingly autobiographical narrative, Miroslav Volf examines afresh the problems of abuse, memory, and reconciliation, and he concludes that memory, as such, cannot be adjusted to relieve our hurts. But forgetting, rightly understood, provides a healing balm. This is a book of profundity and wisdom, endowed with the authenticity of considerable personal suffering.”
— Sarah Coakley
University of Cambridge
“Miroslav Volf, in reflecting on the vicissitudes of the late twentieth century, restores memory to its significant role in resolving conflict rather than in making ephemeral deals. In struggling with the question of hatred, he points to new directions in interfaith and interethnic dialogue, trust, and generosity at this early moment in the twenty-first century, already experienced as a time of eclipsed hope.”
— Hillel Levine
International Center for Conciliation
“This unique book brings light into the dark labyrinth of human memory of wrongs suffered. . . . Miroslav Volf combines in an ingenious way his personal struggle with his own months-long interrogation as a Yugoslavian soldier under suspicion with probing psychological insights and theological reflections. His style is personal and inviting, and he is honest with himself and with God. This book is full of surprisingly novel and compelling insights. A masterpiece. . . . I know of no psychological or theological book that is as gripping.”
— Jürgen Moltmann
University of Tübingen
Calvin Theological Journal
“The book is beautifully written, a real joy to absorb. [Volf] grapples deeply and honestly with many profound issues relating to his well-chosen subtitle, Remembering Rightly in a Violent World. Readers will not regret any of the time spent on this book.”