What is Jewish about memory and how does it relate to questions of justice and redemption? Within European modernities we learn to think of ourselves as rational selves and within a liberal moral culture to put the past behind us, so making it difficult to engage with the traumatic histories of the Shoah and the moral challenges it offers to European moral traditions. Does Judaism provide a critique of secular moral traditions and open possibilities for an embodied ethical tradition that values memory and so engagements with the past, while reminding us that ‘not to know sufferings means not to be human’? (Genesis Rabbah 92:1).
Victor Jeleniewski Seidler is Emeritus Professor of Social Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London and has written widely in social theory, ethics and philosophy. He also teaches Jewish philosophy at Leo Baeck College.