Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The problem of evil: CASE course

For the last couple of years I have been involved in various ways with an organisation called CASE (Centre for Apologetic Education and Scholarship) at New College, UNSW. During May, I will be teaching a new four week course with the inestimable Dr Matheson Russell on the problem of evil.

The Problem of Evil: a tour of Christian responses
A CASE short course taught by Dr Matheson Russell and Mr Byron Smith.
Why does God allow evil and suffering? In this course, we survey the main responses offered by Christian thinkers throughout the ages. Do they stand up to philosophical and theological scrutiny? And how useful are they when it comes to answering the tough questions?

Venue: New College Meeting Room, University of New South Wales
Dates: Thursdays 7-9pm. 10, 17, 24, 31 May (UNSW Wks10-13)
Cost: $88 (full-time students: $44) includes supper and materials.

Week 1 (10/5): After an introduction to the problem of evil and overview of the course, we consider the most popular response to the so-called 'logical' problem of evil amongst Christian philosophers: The free will defence (Leibniz, Plantinga, Swinburne).

Week 2 (17/5): Continuing our discussion of the philosophically-oriented responses to the problem of evil, in the first half of this session we look at two more significant responses to the 'logical' problem of evil: Process theodicy and the Soul-making theodicy (Hick). In the second half we consider the so-called 'evidential' problem of evil.

Week 3 (24/5): The philosophically-oriented literature has its critics, and in this session we consider the arguments of those who consider the whole project of theodicy to be misguided. These criticisms shall lead us into a discussion of the so-called 'practical theodicies' of the theologians such as Soelle and Moltmann.

Week 4 (31/5): In this last session we consider some recent writings by respected theologians Hauerwas, Hart and N.T. Wright. Finally, we bring the course full circle and consider how what we have learned might help us answer tough questions about evil and suffering.

Optional reader: William L. Rowe (ed.), God and the Problem of Evil (Blackwell, 2001). Preferred registration is online here.

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John P. said...

Wish I lived in your hemisphere...I would LOVE to attend.

I am in a course right now which has (for the last 4 weeks) focused on Theodicy. We read Barth (of course), David Ray Griffin, Wendy Farley, and we are finishing with Marylin McCord Adams book Christ and Horrors. Though adams book is one of the most philosophically technical (i could barely get through the intro without serious reference help), it is also one of the more fascinating books I have read in a while. Farleys book Tragedy and Divine COmpassion is a great example of pastoral theology at work.

I look forward to hearing a little more about your course.

Anonymous said...

Wow, yeah, wish I were near you.

jeltzz said...

I wish I was free to attend. I figure I'll just add some things to the ever-increasing "Things to Read" list instead....

Steven Carr said...

God allows evil in the same way that Santa Claus allows naughty boys to be naughty.

Why does God pass by on the other side when disaster threatens humanity?

byron smith said...

Steven, sounds like you need to come along to the course! :-)