Forgiveness, reconciliation, and the remains of resentment / by Amos Friedland.
This dissertation examines the complex links between forgiveness, reconciliation, forgetting, and resentment. It is especially concerned to open up a space for thinking a resentment that does not inevitably lead to forgiveness, or to reconciliation. Yet it also demonstrates the impossible difficulty in articulating a sovereign resentment, that is, one not eventually subsumed by reconciliation. The absurd combination of the necessity and the impossibility of such a sovereign resentment following the Holocaust yields the concept of an eternal resentment “left over,” as a remainder or remains after the Aufhebung of the Hegelian reconciliation.The dissertation begins with the dominant philosophical concept of forgiveness, as well as the much broader concept of reconciliation, as these are articulated throughout Hegel's work. The relation between the “Jewish spirit of resentment” and the “Christian spirit of forgiveness,” and also the dialectical necessity by which the former is compelled to “rise up” to the latter, are the primary focus of this section.A middle section acts as a transition between the dominant Hegelian beginning, and the final section on resentment. It considers the thought of forgiveness in three recent Jewish philosophers: Hannah Arendt, Avishai Margalit, and Jacques Derrida. A long interlude on Socrates, Nietzsche, and the death-penalty concludes this section, and acts as a segue to the final part.The last main section focuses primarily on the work of Jean Améry, Vladimir Jankélévitch, and novelist Imre Kertész, with interludes on Freud, Proust, and Lévinas. Rejecting the drive to forgiveness, each thinker articulates a stance of resentment aligned with the eternal, resisting to the point of absurdity all compulsion towards reconciliation. This resentment resists and persists even and especially as reconciliation inevitably proceeds in spite of it, in the work of time and history. It is a remainder or remains left over from this process and progress, situated on the hither side of life, love, and happiness—and on the hither side of time. These “resolute resenters” follow another moral imperative, and the remains of resentment turn out to be the “remains of time.”
Record last modified: 2018-05-16 16:15:00
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