Fire in the Ashes: God, Evil, and the Holocaust

Overview

Sixty years after it ended, the Holocaust continues to leave survivors and their descendants, as well as historians, philosophers, and theologians, pondering the enormity of that event. This book explores how inquiry about the Holocaust challenges understanding, especially its religious and ethical dimensions.

Debates about God's relationship to evil are ancient, but the Holocaust complicated them in ways never before imagined. Its massive destruction left Jews and Christians ...

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Overview

Sixty years after it ended, the Holocaust continues to leave survivors and their descendants, as well as historians, philosophers, and theologians, pondering the enormity of that event. This book explores how inquiry about the Holocaust challenges understanding, especially its religious and ethical dimensions.

Debates about God's relationship to evil are ancient, but the Holocaust complicated them in ways never before imagined. Its massive destruction left Jews and Christians searching among the ashes to determine what, if anything, could repair the damage done to tradition and to theology.

Since the end of the Holocaust, Jews and Christians have increasingly sought to know how or even whether theological analysis and reflection can aid in comprehending its aftermath. Specifically, Jews and Christians, individually and collectively, find themselves more and more in the position of needing either to rethink theodicy -- typically understood as the vindication of divine justice in the face of evil -- or to abolish the concept altogether.

Writing in a format that creates the feel of dialogue, the contributors to Fire in the Ashes confront these and other difficult questions about God and evil after the Holocaust. This book -- created out of shared concerns and a desire to investigate differences and disagreements between religious traditions and philosophical perspectives -- represents an effort to advance meaningful conversation between Jews and Christians and to encourage others to participate in similar inter- and intrafaith inquiries.

The contributors to Fire in the Ashes are members of the Pastora Goldner Holocaust Symposium. Led since its founding in 1996 by Leonard Grob and Henry F. Knight, the symposium's Holocaust and genocide scholars -- a group that is interfaith, international, interdisciplinary, and intergenerational -- meet biennially in Oxfordshire, England.

University of Washington Press

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What People Are Saying

Michael Berenbaum

Shaped by different traditions but shattered by the very same event—the Shoah—in Fire and the Ashes scholars and ministers, philosphers and rabbis have confronted the philosophical implications of the Holocaust with a seriousness that is meritorious and with a friendship fused by years of dialogue and confrontation. The results are impressive; dramatic proof of what is right about civility in contemporary rligious life—the type of civility that does not mask differences but allows them to be raised and understood with respect and even sympathy.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

David Patterson is Bornblum Chair in Judaic Studies, University of Memphis. John K. Roth is Edward J. Sexton Professor of Philosophy and director of the Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights, Claremont McKenna College. The other contributors are Margaret Brearley, Britta Frede-Wenger, Leonard Grob, Peter J. Haas, Hannah Holtschneider, Henry F. Knight, Juergen Manemann, Rochelle L. Millen, and Didier Pollefeyt.

University of Washington Press

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Flames in the Darkness / David Patterson and John K. RothPart One: The Burden of Evil1. Fire and Ashes: The "Tempter-God," Evil, and the Shoah / Margaret BrearleyIn Response--Britta Frede-Wenger--David Patterson--Margaret Brearley2. Jean Amery: Memories of Evil and Consequences for the Representation of Jewish Identity in Christian Theology / Hanna HoltschneiderIn Response--Peter J. Haas--John K. Roth--Hannah Holtschneider3. Judaism in Protestant Encounters with the Shoah / Peter J. HaasIn Response--Henry F. Knight--Rochelle L. Millen--Peter J. Haas4. Locating God: Placing Ourselves in a Post-Shoah World / Henry F. KnightIn Response--Margaret Brearley--Leonard Grob--Henry F. KnightPart Two: Searching Traditions5. "Like Pebbles on the Seashore": J. B. Soloveitchik on Suffering / Rochelle L. MillenIn Response--Hannah Holtschneider--Juergen Manemann--Rochelle L. Millen6. "Good" Friday after Auschwitz? / Britta Frede-WengerIn Response--Henry F. KnightRochelle L. Millen--Britta Frede-Wenger7. If the Good Become the Evil: Antimonotheism in Germany after Reunification and the Problems of the Doctrine of Justification / Juergen ManemannIn Response--David Patterson--Didier Pollefeyt--Juergen Manemann8. Some Fundamental Doubts about Posing the Question of Theodicy in the Post-Holocaust World / Leongard GrobIn Response--Margaret Brearley--Didier Pollefeyt--Leonard GrobPart Three: Beyond the Ruins?9. Horror Vacui: God and Evil in/after Auschwitz / Didier PollefeytIn Response--Britta Frede-Wenger--Peter J. Haas--Didier Pollefeyt10. Deliver us from Evil? Kuhn's Prayer and the Masters of Death / John K. RothIn Response--Leonard Grob--Juergen Manemann--John K. Roth11. Seeking the Fire in the Ashes: A Chasidic Accounting for Evil form the Midst of Evil after the Evil of Auschwitz / David PattersonIn Response--Hannah Holtschneider--John K. Roth--David PattersonPostscript: The Disturbance of the Witness / David Patterson and John K. RothBibliographyAbout the Editors and ContributorsIndex

University of Washington Press

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