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“‘To see history doxologically’: Miroslav Volf’s and John Howard Yoder’s competing conceptions of the place of memory in the politics of forgiveness.”

Sider, J. Alexander.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) Paper presented at the Theology and Culture: Peacemaking in a Globalized World conference. Bienenberg Theological Seminary, Switzerland, 25-29 June.

Sider’s paper consists of a comparison of conceptions of forgiveness and memory in the writings of Miroslav Volf and John Howard Yoder. Sider begins with an examination of Yoder’s position that, for Christians at least, history is to be viewed doxologically – that is, with a posture of praise grounded in awareness of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, an awareness that suffering love in response to evil determines the meaning of history. Memory then is crucial to the individual believer, to the Church, and to the character of history itself. Sider then turns to Volf’s complex exploration of the role of memory in relation to reconciliation and nonviolence. Acknowledging suffering and evil in unflinchingly realistic terms, Volf maintains that redemption and reconciliation must involve a kind of forgetting of suffering and evil. In general, while Sider recognizes certain affinities between Yoder and Volf, he finds significant differences in their respective understandings of memory, forgiveness, ecclesiology, and history.


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