The Ethics of Forgiveness
To forgive is an act that can have varied but related meanings. To forgive means to be merciful, to pardon an offense or an offender, to give up a claim against another individual, to set aside a debt, to relinquish anger or resentment, however justifiable those feelings may be, to free a person from the burden of guilt. Thus, forgiveness is what I call an after-word. It has that status partly because of the Holocaust. Reflection on that fact is another step that needs to be taken to deepen understanding about ethics during and after the Holocaust.
KeywordsVerse Carol Hate
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 2.Elazar Barkan, The Guilt of Nations: Restitution and Negotiating Historical Injustices (New York: W. W. Norton, 2000)Google Scholar
- Priscilla B. Hayner, Unspeakable Truths: Confronting State Terror and Atrocities (New York: Taylor & Francis, 2002).Google Scholar
- 3.Emmanuel Levinas, Difficile liberté: Essais sur le judaïsme (Paris: Albin Michel, 1963), p. 37.Google Scholar
- 5.Maurice Simon, in I. Epstein, ed., Hebrew-English Edition of the Babylonian Talmud (London: Soncino Press, 1990).Google Scholar
- 8.James E. Young, The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorial and Meaning (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993), pp. 243–60, esp. p. 244.Google Scholar
- 9.Ruth Linn, Escaping Auschwitz: The Culture of Forgetting (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2004).Google Scholar
- 11.Rudolf Vrba with Alan Bestic, I Cannot Forgive, expanded edn. (Vancouver: Regent College Publishing, 1997), p. 268.Google Scholar
- 12.Simon Wiesenthal, The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness, rev. and expanded edn. (New York: Schocken Books, 1997).Google Scholar
- 19.Primo Levi, The Voice of Memory: Interviews 1961–1987, ed. Marco Belpoliti and Robert Gordon and trans. Robert Gordon (New York: The New Press, 2001), p. 111.Google Scholar
- 23.Didier Pollefeyt, “Forgiveness after the Holocaust,” in David Patterson and John K. Roth, eds., After-Words: Post-Holocaust Struggles with Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Justice (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2004), p. 61.Google Scholar
- 28.Carol Rittner’s “What Can a Christian Say about Forgiveness?” in Carol Rittner and John K. Roth, eds., “Good News” after Auschwitz? Christian Faith within a Post-Holocaust World (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2001), p. 121.Google Scholar