The Evils of Theodicy

The Evils of Theodicy

by Terrence W. Tilley

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The Evils of Theodicy by Terrence W. Tilley

The thesis of this book is straightforward: Professor Tilley argues that theodicy as a discourse practice creates evils while theodicists ignore or distort classic texts in the Christian tradition, unwittingly efface genuine evils in their attempts to justify God, and silence the voice of the suffering and the oppressed by writing them out of the theological picture. The result is often a theological legitimation of intolerable social evils.

Using speech-act theory, Tilley reveals the practical and moral presuppositions and implications behind the communicative actions of speaking and writing that have yielded our classic texts relating God and evils: the Book of Job, Augustine's Enchiridion, Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, Hume's Dialogues, and George Eliot's Adam Bede. Tilley's analysis shows how distant the powerful speech acts embedded in these texts are from the Enlightenment discourse which has translated them into theodicy discourse.

For too long theodicists have created a picture that misportrays the evils in God's world by dividing evil neatly into human sin and natural suffering. Such a picture obscures and even legitimates the "social sin" and "evil practices" which corrupt and destroy humans individually and collectively. The point of The Evils of Theodicy is not only to describe the theodicists' world but to change it radically.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781579104306
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 03/01/2000
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 292
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Terrence W. Tilley is Professor of Theology and Chair of the Department at Fordham University. His other books include Talking of God, Story Theology, The Evils of Theodicy, Inventing Catholic Tradition, History, Theology and Faith, and The Disciples' Jesus: Christology as Reconciling Practice.

Table of Contents

Part 1Speech Act Theory7
1.Words Are Deeds9
Introduction: Speech Act Theory9
Language and Linguistic Acts10
The Social Situation of Speech Acts15
Perlocutionary Results20
2.Institutionally Bound Speech Acts in Religion33
Speech Acts Bound to Religious Institutions34
Institutionally Bound Directives35
Institutionally Bound Assertives38
Institutionally Bound Commissives39
Institutionally Bound Expressives42
Institutionally Bound Declaratives46
On Being Responsible for Institutionally Bound Speech Acts50
3.Institutionally Free Speech Acts in Religion55
An Institutionally Free Directive: Petitionary Prayer56
An Institutionally Free Assertive: Religious Preaching63
An Institutionally Free Commissive: Pledging67
An Institutionally Free Expressive: Swearing69
An Institutionally Free Declarative: Confessions70
The Morality of Speaking and the Cognitivity of Religious Language76
Part 2Remembering Dismembered Texts83
Introduction to Part Two85
4.Considering Job: Does Job Fear God for Naught?89
Job: A Text Made, not Found90
The Book of Job from Job's Perspective91
God's "Verdict" on Job's Speaking102
The Book of Job from the Framework Perspective105
Considering Job106
5.Augustine's Authoritative Defense113
Augustine and Augustinian Theodicy113
Enchiridion as an Instruction on the Nature of Evil118
Enchiridion as an Instruction on the Redemption of Evil125
The Logic of Enchiridion130
Reading Enchiridion133
6.Philosophy as Consolation in Misfortune: Boethius' Script for Reinscribing a Self141
The Prisoner's Progress: The Therapy of Philosophy142
The Prisoner's Regress: The Loss of Voice148
A Script for Reinscribing a Self150
The Performer of the Consolation154
7.Hume's Challenges165
On Analyzing an Argument in the Dialogues167
Points in a Conversation about Misfortune, Suffering and God168
On Hearing Hume's Voices177
The Reality of Evil and Faith in God181
8.Giving Voice to the Victim: Consolation without Falsification189
The Methodist and the Murderess190
Speaking to Give Voice to the Voiceless194
"It Can Never Be Undone"201
On Writing for Victims208
Part 3The Discourse of Theodicy217
Introduction to Part Three219
9.The Evils of Theodicy221
Constructing Theodicies221
Theodicy as a Discourse Practice229
Theodicy as Assertive Declaration235
On Counteracting Theodicy247
Works Consulted257

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