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While others have contributed tomes and volumes on the history of Evil, Kelly covers much ground in much fewer pages. An ample bibliography will direct the curious to more in depth study, while readers who prefer a lighter treatment (albeit a meticulously researched and well-written one) will experience a wealth of information packed between these covers. Delineating between "Evil" and "evils", the author starts the tour in the Book of Job and follows literary, religious and philosophical strands through to the biotech ambiguities of the early 21st century. He draws a picture of how the ancient peoples of Mesopotamia viewed Evil by examining myths similar to biblical texts along with biblical references to Satan. And, by gleaning from both Christian and non-religious writings, he shows how these have formed the idea of Evil in the collective conscience. The final chapters illuminate modern theories and approaches to Evil, and the book culminates with the author's own reflection on what he believes Evil to be.
The question of evil presents a profound challenge to humanity - why do we do what we know to be wrong? This is especially a challenge to religious believers. Why doesn't an al-good and omnipotent God step in and put an end to evil? "The Problem of Evil in the Western Tradition" examines how Western thinkers have dealt with the problem of evil, starting in ancient Israel and tracing the question through post-biblical Judaism, Early Christianity (especially in Africa), the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and to the twenty-first century when science has raised new and important issues.
Joseph Kelly covers the book of Job, the book of Revelation, Augustine of Hippo, Aquinas, Luther, Maslow, Milton, Voltaire, Hume, Mary Shelley, Darwin, Jung, Flannery O'Connor, Karl Rahner, Teilhard de Chardin, and modern geneticists.
Chapters are Some Perspectives on Evil," *Israel and Evil, - *The New Adam, - *Out of Africa, - *The Broken Cosmos, - *The Middle Ages, - *Decline and Reform of Humanism, - *The Devil's Last Stand, - *Rationalizing Evil, - *The Attack on Christianity, - *Dissident Voices, - *Human Evil in the Nineteenth Century, - *Science, Evil, and Original Sin, - *Modern Literary Approaches to Evil, - *Some Scientific Theories of Evil, - and *Modern Religious Approaches to Evil. -
"Joseph F. Kelly, Ph.D., is professor of religious studies at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the author of "The World of the Early Christians, " published by The Liturgical Press.""
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