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From the PublisherThis is a critically important study of cruelty as a theological category. It is essential reading for all of us concerned with our deeply held human obligations in a pluralistic world. The arc of the work is as broad as its insights are deep. This book comes at a time when scholars and leaders must pay close attention to the trespasses that harm our relations in a multireligious world. Both American law and the U.N. declaration on Human Rights condemn "cruel" and unusual punishment, but neither has been clear about what "cruel" really means. This book is a challenging contribution that will earn a place of great significance in theological and social ethics. - Dr. Diana L. Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies; Director, The Pluralism Project, Harvard University.
Cruelty is a dominating feature of contemporary life, an undeniable part of everyone's experience; and yet the deep character of cruelty has received little scholarly attention. That is no longer the case thanks to this groundbreaking study by Michael Trice. Drawing on western philosophy, biblical and theological narratives, and his own experience of cruelty in the public execution of a friend, Trice demonstrates that cruelty, unlike some forms of violence, is generally concealed beneath rationalizations. Cruelty subtly undermines our stated values and sense of self, and makes us complicit in its advance. This study can be of real importance to the church because of how it resists easy affirmations of reconciliation and Good News that minimize the pervasiveness of cruelty. I commend it most highly. - Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA.
Michael Trice plumbs the depths of philosophical and theological discourse in order to synthesize a serious-minded phenomenology of cruelty. Encountering Cruelty delivers a courageous assessment of a form of trespass that philosophers and theologians, by their own admission, have shied away from. At stake in this study is 'cruelty' as a new theological category that will assist present cross-cultural efforts at identifying a reconciled future. This book merits considerable study and I recommend it highly. - Prof. Dr. Gunther Wenz, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.