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Description In the ancient Near East, when the gods detected gross impropriety in their ranks, they subjected their own to trial. When mortals suspect their gods of wrongdoing, do they have the right to put them on trial? What lies behind the human endeavor to impose moral standards of behavior on the gods? Is this effort an act of arrogance, as Kant suggested, or a means of keeping theological discourse honest? James Crenshaw seeks to address these questions in this wide-ranging study of ancient theodicies. Crenshaw has been writing about and pondering the issue of theodicy--the human effort to justify the puzzling ways of the gods or God--for many years. In this volume he presents a synthesis of his ideas on this perennially thorny issue. Crenshaw examines early responses to the problem of theodicy in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Syria-Palestine as a way of assessing modern approaches to existential and religious crises. Through close readings of many texts in the Hebrew Bible and comparison with treatments in extrabiblical literature, Crenshaw explores the richly diverse legacy of those who have influenced the West in so many ways. That legacy ranges from denying that a problem exists-the atheistic answer-to positing a vulnerable deity who assumes full responsibility for evil and its eradication. Between those two poles are responses that attempt to spread the blame, assuming a multiplicity of deities, a single rival deity (the personification of all evil), or a solitary deity who is somehow constrained, either by limited power and knowledge or by a split personality that struggles to balance the conflicting demands of justice and mercy. Crenshaw's exploration of the treatment of theodicy in a broad cross-section of ancient texts sheds new light on the history of the human struggle with this intractable problem.
Buy Defending God: Biblical Responses to the Problem of Evil by James L. Crenshaw from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780195140026 & 0195140028
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