Out of Eden: Adam and Eve and the Problem of Evil

Out of Eden: Adam and Eve and the Problem of Evil

by Paul W. Kahn
Pub. Date:
Princeton University Press
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Out of Eden: Adam and Eve and the Problem of Evil

In Out of Eden, Paul W. Kahn offers a philosophical meditation on the problem of evil. He uses the Genesis story of the Fall as the starting point for a profound articulation of the human condition. Kahn shows us that evil expresses the rage of a subject who knows both that he is an image of an infinite God and that he must die. Kahn's interpretation of Genesis leads him to inquiries into a variety of modern forms of evil, including slavery, torture, and genocide.

Kahn takes issue with Hannah Arendt's theory of the banality of evil, arguing that her view is an instance of the modern world's lost capacity to speak of evil. Psychological, social, and political accounts do not explain evil as much as explain it away. Focusing on the existential roots of evil rather than on the occasions for its appearance, Kahn argues that evil originates in man's flight from death. He urges us to see that the opposite of evil is not good, but love: while evil would master death, love would transcend it.

Offering a unique perspective that combines political and cultural theory, law, and philosophy, Kahn here continues his project of advancing a political theology of modernity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691126937
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 10/09/2006
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction: The Study of Evil 1

Chapter 1: A Preliminary Meditation on Oedipus and Adam 16

Chapter 2: Evil and the Image of the Sacred 53

Chapter 3: Love and Evil 106

Chapter 4: Political Evil: Slavery and the Shame of Nature 143

Chapter 5: Political Evil: Killing, Sacrifice, and the Image of God 174

Conclusion: Tragedy, Comedy, and the Banality of Evil 211

Index 223

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