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Campus offering

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Enrolment in the Master of Theology (Research)


PHIL621 The Problem of Evil

Teaching organisation

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials, online learning, video-conferencing or supervision. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment.

Unit rationale, description and aim

The reality of evil in the world is a major issue and point of reflection for any religious tradition, but especially for monotheistic faiths that have an all-powerful and all-good God at their core. It is clear that the Christian tradition places innocent suffering at the very centre of its focus in the figure of the crucified and risen Messiah. But to what extent can theological responses to evil be understood in rational terms accessible to people of different faith traditions or none? This unit in the philosophy of religion provides an extended reflection on the problem from various different perspectives, leading students through a variety of questions such as the meaning of evil; the particular problems raised by different 'types' of evil; arguments against religion on the basis of evil; the concept of 'theodicy'; and a range of historical and contemporary theistic responses to the problem of evil.

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