Cover image for Wounds not healed by time : the power of repentance and forgiveness
Wounds not healed by time : the power of repentance and forgiveness
Schimmel, Solomon.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
xi, 265 pages ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1440 Lexile.
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BJ1476 .S34 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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How should we respond to injuries done to us and to the hurts that we inflict on others? In this thoughtful book, Wounds Not Healed By Time, Solomon Schimmel guides us through the meanings of justice, forgiveness, repentance, and reconciliation. In doing so, he probes to the core of the humanencounter with evil, drawing on religious traditions, psychology, philosophy, and the personal experiences of both perpetrators and of victims. Christianity, Judaism and Islam call for forgiveness and repentance in our relations with others. Yet, as Schimmel points out, there are significant differences between them as to when and whom to forgive. Is forgiving always more moral than refusing to forgive? Is it ever immoral to forgive? Whenis repentance a pre-condition for forgiveness, and what does repentance entail? Schimmel explores these questions in diverse contexts, ranging from conflicts in a marriage and personal slights we experience every day to enormous crimes such as the Holocaust. He applies insights on forgiveness andrepentance to the Middle East, post-apartheid South Africa, inter-religious relationships, and the criminal justice system. In Wounds Not Healed By Time, Schimmel also provides practical strategies to help us forgive and repent, preparing the way for healing and reconciliation between individuals and groups. "It is my belief," Schimmel concludes, "that the best balm for the resentment, rage, guilt, andshame engendered by human evil lies in finding the proper balance between justice, repentance, and forgiveness."

Author Notes

Solomon Schimmel is Professor of Jewish Education and Psychology at Hebrew College, in Newton, Massachusetts. He is the author of The Seven Deadly Sins: Jewish, Christian, and Classical Reflections on Human Psychology.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

As a nation and as individuals, we all struggle with questions of forgiveness and vengeance. Schimmel (Jewish education & psychology, Hebrew Coll.; The Seven Deadly Sins) uses the teachings of Judaism and Christianity and the research of modern psychology to throw light on this struggle. He deftly elucidates topics of revenge, justice, why and when to forgive, how to forgive, repentance, and reconciliation. He deals sensitively with these issues at the personal level and also includes institutional or national perspectives through an examination of America's race relations, the Vatican's recent apologies, Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, and the South African experience with its Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Schimmel's thoughtful exploration of these themes includes the use of biblical and Talmudic texts, as well as current psychological thought. He criticizes the pressure in our culture to forgive too quickly and provides a respectful questioning of that pressure's Christian roots. This can serve as a self-help book for sophisticated readers or as a starting point for philosophical consideration of the topic. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries.-Stephen Joseph, Butler Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Pittsburgh (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Permissionsp. viii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Wounds Not Healed by Timep. 2
Introductionp. 3
1 Revenge ... Justicep. 11
2 The Essence of Forgivenessp. 40
3 Why ... When to Forgivep. 61
4 How to Forgivep. 89
5 Forgiving Oneself ... Forgiving Godp. 121
6 The Essence of Repentancep. 141
7 Repentance ... Reconciliationp. 182
Epilogue: The South African Experiencep. 220
Notesp. 227
Bibliographyp. 251
Index of Namesp. 259
Index of Subjectsp. 261