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Beyond Theodicy: Jewish and Christian Continental Thinkers by Sarah Katherine Pinnock

By Sarah Katherine Pinnock

Past Theodicy analyzes the emerging tide of objections to motives and justifications for why God allows evil and pain on this planet. in accordance with the Holocaust, outstanding parallels have emerged among significant Jewish and Christian thinkers centering on functional religion ways that supply that means inside agony. writer Sarah okay. Pinnock specializes in Jewish thinkers Martin Buber and Ernst Bloch and Christian thinkers Gabriel Marcel and Johann Baptist Metz to give assorted rejections of theodicy, one existential, represented via Buber and Marcel, and one political, represented through Bloch and Metz. Pinnock interweaves the disciplines of philosophy of faith, post-Holocaust inspiration, and liberation theology to formulate a dynamic imaginative and prescient of spiritual wish and resistance.

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Extra resources for Beyond Theodicy: Jewish and Christian Continental Thinkers Respond to the Holocaust

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Marcel is EXISTENTIAL ENCOUNTER WITH EVIL 27 at odds with Sartre for portraying the human subject in a Cartesian manner as a solitary individual in conflict with other persons, who pose a threat to the self ’s freedom. Instead of viewing relations to other persons as a necessary evil, as Sartre does, Marcel’s existentialist approach views persons as inextricably linked to each other by bonds of love and loyalty, whether or not this reciprocity among subjects is acknowledged or appreciated. Marcel argues that it is dangerous for the attitudes of having and problem thinking to predominate as they do in twentieth-century European society, a society where, he claims, both persons and nature are valued in a primarily functional and instrumental manner.

He writes that for the religious person, “God is the absolute thou who can never become a him [or it]” (MJ 137). 15 According to Marcel, God emerges in human existence indirectly in moments of grace mediated EXISTENTIAL ENCOUNTER WITH EVIL 29 by intersubjective relation, in community, in fidelity, and in love (FHW 8). Therefore, given the existential character of faith, a religious response to evil and suffering must study the postures of faith as they help the individual cope with suffering. There is a passionate moral dimension to Marcel’s rejection of theodicy.

2 The authentic subject is not a conformist individual, but someone with the courage to accept the burden of responsibility. Literature is used to 23 24 BEYOND THEODICY illustrate existential postures in context, and a number of existentialist thinkers like Sartre, Camus, and Marcel write literary fiction as well as philosophy. In existentialist thought, the story of Sisyphus, taken from Greek mythology, has become a symbol of human authenticity and fortitude in the face of suffering. As is well known, Sisyphus is condemned by the gods to roll a giant stone up a hill repeatedly.

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