By reorienting our perception of these enduring phenomena, the contributors to this volume inspire new applications for love and forgiveness in an increasingly globalized and no longer quite secular world. By examining how we have used—and misused—these concepts, the authors advance a better understanding of their ability to unite different individuals and emerging groups around a shared engagement for freedom and equality, peace and solidarity.
One can love and not forgive or out of love decide not to forgive. Or one can forgive but not love, or choose to forgive but not love the ones forgiven. Love and forgiveness follow parallel and largely independent paths, a truth we fail to acknowledge when we pressure others to both love and forgive. Individuals in conflict, sparring social and ethnic groups, warring religious communities, and insecure nations often do not need to pursue love and forgiveness to achieve peace of mind and heart. They need to remain attentive to the needs of others, an alertness that prompts either love or forgiveness to respond.
By reorienting our perception of these enduring phenomena, the contributors to this volume inspire new applications for love and forgiveness in an increasingly globalized and no longer quite secular world. With contributions by the renowned French philosophers Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Marion, the poet Haleh Liza Gafori, and scholars of religion (Leora Batnitzky, Nils F. Schott, Hent de Vries), psychoanalysis (Albert Mason, Orna Ophir), Islamic and political philosophy (Sari Nusseibeh), and the Bible and literature (Regina Schwartz), this anthology reconstructs the historical and conceptual lineage of love and forgiveness and their fraught relationship over time. By examining how we have used—and misused—these concepts, the authors advance a better understanding of their ability to unite different individuals and emerging groups around a shared engagement for freedom and equality, peace and solidarity.
Hent de Vries is director of the Humanities Center at Johns Hopkins University, where he holds the Russ Family Chair in the Humanities and Philosophy. He is also director of the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University. He is the author of
Minimal Theologies: Critiques of Secular Reason in Theodor W. Adorno and Emmanuel Levinas;
Religion and Violence: Philosophical Perspectives from Kant to Derrida; and
Philosophy and the Turn to Religion and the editor of
Religion Beyond a Concept.
Nils F. Schott is James M. Motley Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University. The author of
The Conversion of Knowledge: Enlightenment and Religion in Eighteenth-Century Catechisms, he has also translated several works, most recently Vladimir Jankélévitch's
Henri Bergson, which he coedited with Alexandre Lefebvre.
Sarah Beckwith, Duke University:
This timely and highly stimulating set of essays examines the theological, historical, literary, dramatic, political, and theological resources of love and forgiveness in the world today. The authors find love and forgiveness to be centrally related to questions of justice and recognition, to the alert and attentive desire to see the world and each other aright. I highly recommend this bracing and thought-provoking book.
Willemien Otten, University of Chicago: Engaging scholars in a debate that is situated on the cutting edge of critical theory and contemporary philosophy, Hent de Vries and Nils F. Schott have succeeded beautifully in shifting perspective toward a more totalizing philosophy in conversation with ethics, religion, theology, and literature.