Religious Studies | Faith, Revelation & Reason: The Problem of Evil in Jewish Thought
R380 | 4154 | Copulsky

In times of trauma and tragedy, many people turn to religious
traditions for consolation and understanding.  The human realization
of the difference between the world as it is and the world as it is
thought it should be has been a significant force in the development
and interpretation of a religious tradition.  The Bible teaches that
the world was created good, yet the reality of evil in the world
seems self-evident.  Does the existence and persistence of evil call
into question the goodness or omnipotence of God?  Is evil and
suffering punishment for human sin, or is it the will of an
inscrutable divinity?  In this course, we will survey a number of
responses from the Jewish tradition, from the Bible to contemporary
authors.  At strategic moments in the course, we will bring in
Christian sources for comparison.
Our readings will include works by Saadia Gaon, Maimonides, Martin
Buber, Emil Fackenheim, Richard Rubenstein, Gershom Scholem, and
Elie Wiesel, among others.
Requirements: In-class presentations, mid-term, and a final paper.