More than fifty years after it ended, the Holocaust continues to leave survivors and their descendants, as well as historians, philosophers, and theologians, searching for words to convey the enormity of that event. Efforts to express its realities and its impact on successive generations often stretch language to the breaking point--or to the point of silence. Words whose meaning was contested before the Holocaust prove even more fragile in its wake.
David Patterson and John K. Roth identify three such "after-words": forgiveness, reconciliation, and justice. These words, though forever altered by the Holocaust, are still spoken and heard. But how should the concepts they represent be understood? How can their integrity be restored within the framework of current philosophical and, especially, religious traditions? Writing in a format that creates the feel of dialogue, the nine contributors to After-Words tackle these and other difficult questions about the nature of memory and forgiveness after the Holocaust to encourage others to participate in similar inter- and intrafaith inquiries.
The contributors to After-Words are members of the Pastora Goldner Holocaust Symposium. Led since its founding in 1996 by Leonard Grob and Henry Knight, the symposium’s Holocaust and genocide scholars--a group that is interfaith, international, interdisciplinary, and intergenerational--meet biennially in Oxfordshire, England.