The twentieth century has been called a “century of horror”. Proof of that designation can be found in the vast and ever-increasing volume of scholarly work on violence, trauma, memory, and history across diverse academic disciplines. This book demonstrates not only the ways in which the wars of the twentieth century have altered theological engagement and religious practice, but also the degree to which religious ways of thinking have shaped the way we construct historical narratives. Drawing on diverse sources – from the Hebrew Bible to Commonwealth war graves, from Greek tragedy to post-Holocaust theology – Alana M. Vincent probes the intersections between past and present, memory and identity, religion and nationality. The result is a book that defies categorization and offers no easy answers, but instead pursues an agenda of theological realism, holding out continued hope for the restoration of the world.
List of Illustrations
Foreword by David Jasper
Part One: Remembering to Forget
1. Remembering Amalek
2. Antigone and Athenian War-dead: Body and Identity in the Greek tradition
Part Two: Mourning the Absent
3. Anne of Green Gables and the Transformation of Public Mourning
4. Making Memory Solid: Jane Urquhart and The Canadian National Vimy Memorial
Part Three: Absent Mourners
5. Worship in the Ruins
6. Outside the Sanctuary
Endorsements and Reviews
Widely relevant, this compelling and thoughtful book explores the complex phenomenon of remembrance. Combining aesthetical, literary, and theological analyses, Alana Vincent offers a highly original and important contribution to the growing interdisciplinary field that investigates how politics of memory and uses of history shape the relation to the past.
Jayne Svenungsson, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Stockholm School of Theology
In this rich and well-researched book, Alana Vincent [asks] us to join her on a fascinating odyssey in the unruly sea of cultural memory, where we are constantly tossing on waves, alternating between ‘remembering’ and ‘forgetting’: to remember for fear that we forget, and to forget lest we remember.
Jesper Svartvik, Professor of Theology of Religions, Lund University and the Swedish Theological Institute in Jerusalem
Unlike many books about war and genocide, Vincent eschews a discourse of trauma in favour of memorializing as active engagement with the past, typified by her decision to end, not with the Holocaust, but with two Canadian Jewish novels about Holocaust survivors’ children. Time moves forward. A new generation of rememberers are born, and with them, perhaps, new ways of remembering.
M. Adryael Tong, in Theology, Vol 119, No 4