WOUNDS NOT HEALED BY TIME: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness

Solomon Schimmel, Author . Oxford $28 (288p) ISBN 978-0-19-512841-3

Schimmel, a professor of Jewish education and psychology, brings a high level of scholarship, a deeply personal tone and an accessible writing style to complex questions of repentance and forgiveness. Taking his cue from the now classic collection of essays entitled The Sunflower (in which Simon Wiesenthal asks Jewish and Christian scholars for their thoughts on his denial of forgiveness to a young, dying SS officer), Schimmel revisits Wiesenthal's anguished questions by taking seriously perspectives and resources from Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Indeed, in lifting out real differences among the three Abrahamic faiths on the relationships among forgiveness, repentance and reconciliation, Schimmel draws out moral ambiguities with which all three traditions grapple. He brings these religious debates to a diversity of sociopolitical questions: Can a religious or political leader repent (or forgive) on behalf of a group or a nation? If the "sins of the fathers" really are visited upon the next generation, then how should we determine who our "fathers" are? For example, are immigrants responsible for the sins their adopted country committed before they arrived? And can reconciliation begin even among groups that disagree about who should be forgiving whom (e.g., in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict)? Most admirably, Schimmel adds his own voice in a way that seems to come less from books than from the heart. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/26/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-19-517612-4
Open Ebook - 278 pages - 978-0-19-802944-1
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