Evil: A Historical and Theological Perspective

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All human beings--indeed, all creatures--experience evil in various forms. How can the hurtful and harmful aspects of life be understood and faced? What differing perspectives on evil can be gained from

- Behavioral science and psychology

- Biblical faith and the history of Christian thought

- Contemporary thinkers

- Religious traditions of the East

In a constructive conclusion, Schwarz assesses the pervasiveness of evil, human freedom in the face of evil, the personification of...

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Overview

All human beings--indeed, all creatures--experience evil in various forms. How can the hurtful and harmful aspects of life be understood and faced? What differing perspectives on evil can be gained from

- Behavioral science and psychology

- Biblical faith and the history of Christian thought

- Contemporary thinkers

- Religious traditions of the East

In a constructive conclusion, Schwarz assesses the pervasiveness of evil, human freedom in the face of evil, the personification of evil, and the hope for the end of evil. This book provides the basis of hope for a just and humane life. It is a book for our time.

Evil is neither a primeval decree nor an inescapable fate but has its origin in a power that always denies or negates. While we are all caught in the dragnet of evil, we are not helpless victims, as if evil were simply an imperious "it." We can fight evil and indeed should do so.

--from the Preface Evil is [a] comprehensive treatment of a complex and currently interesting subject. The historical and theological treatment will be as competent as everyone who has read a Schwarz book before will expect. [In] the final chapter Schwarz concludes [that]: evil exists as opposition to God in our natural world; humans participate freely in evil and morally transgress; a price is paid for choosing wrongly; evil will not necessarily continue in order to highlight the good by contrast; the liberated Christian bears good fruit amidst this evil; and God has set boundaries for evil that it cannot overstep.

-- Pastor Ronald E. C. Grissom, St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Bridgeport, Ohio

Hans Schwarz provides a kind of textbook history of the ways thinkers in our timehave tried to account for evil. . . .The book is succinct, fair to its subjects, and helpful to those who want introductions to these hypotheses. -- The Christian Century

Hans Schwarz is Professor of Systematic Theology and Contemporary Theology at the University of Regensburg, Germany. He is the author or editor of more than two dozen books.

Hans Schwarz presents a comprehensive history of evil in Western thought. Schwarz illustrates what the behavioral sciences and psychoanalysis are saying about evil and how it might be ameliorated. He also examines the biblical standing, before offering his own constructive position.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780800628574
  • Publisher: Augsburg Fortress, Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/1/1995
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.49 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations
Preface
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 So-Called Evil in the Light of Behavioral Research 5
The Ambivalence of Aggression: Lorenz 5
Self-Endangered Humanity: Wickler, Wilson, Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Hassenstein 10
Ch. 2 Psychoanalytic View of the Human Predicament 16
An Inborn Inclination for Evil: Freud 16
The Integration of Evil: Jung 22
The Tragedy of Evil: Fromm 30
Evil as the Consequence of Alienation from God: Drewermann 35
Ch. 3 The Phenomenon of Evil from the Perspective of the Old Testament 42
The Negative in Light of the Old Testament 42
The Mysterious Cause of Evil 50
The Exclusion of Evil 59
Ch. 4 Evil and the Evil One from the Perspective of the New Testament 68
Jesus' Struggle against Evil 68
Evil and the Human Person 75
Humanity under the Power of Sin 78
Ch. 5 Monistic Or Dualistic Worldview? 86
The Dramatic Dualism of Zoroaster 86
The World-Opposing Dualism of Gnosticism 90
The Modified Dualism of Manichaeism 97
The Existence of Evil in Created Beings: Augustine 101
Ch. 6 Freedom and Human Responsibility 107
The Appeal to Human Responsibility: Pelagius 108
Captive, Yet Responsible: Augustine 112
Overcoming Evil through Human Willpower: Erasmus 126
The Person as Torn between Two Powers: Luther 130
Ch. 7 The Kingdom of Evil 137
Jerusalem and Babylon in Conflicts: Augustine 138
The Kingdom of the Devils: Luther 143
The Kingdom of Sin: Kant, Ritschl 149
Evil as Societal Power: Rauschenbusch, Reinhold Niebuhr 155
Ch. 8 Evil in Contemporary Theological Discussion 163
The Enigmatic Shape of Nothingness: Barth 163
Estrangement and Self-Destruction: Tillich 168
The Self-Centeredness of Humanity: Pannenberg 172
Sinful Social Structures: Liberation Theology 177
Evil as Unavoidable Phenomenon: Process Theology 181
The Inclusiveness of Evil: Feminist Perspectives 184
Excursus: The Treatment of Evil outside the Christian Context 191
Hinduism and Buddhism 192
Islam 196
Ch. 9 The Structures of Evil 199
The Extent of Evil 199
Humanity in the Face of Evil 202
The Personification of Evil 205
The End of Evil 209
Index of Ancient Texts 213
Index of Names 219
Index of Subjects 223
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