Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 23 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Suffering, injustice, tragedy, and death are basic to human experience. Peter Berger observes that each religion bears the burden of relating these negative phenomena—commonly called “evils”—to its understanding of ultimate reality. The problem, then, is the challenge of coherently accounting for evil while preserving and developing essential commitments about the divine, the cosmos, and the human venture. But this means that there is no single problem of evil across all religions; instead, the exact formulation of the problem is specific to the commitments of each particular tradition. Likewise, there is no one formula for response that is common to religions. Using Max Weber's broad definition of theodicy as a religious explanation for evil, this article examines religious diversity by focusing on four major religions—Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism—and explores key themes out of which their theodicies are typically constructed. It also examines theories of human suffering as a phenomenon that calls forth the most profound responses.

Keywords: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, evil, theodicy, religion, human suffering, reality

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.