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date: 20 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Among Christian clergy and laity, evil is typically cast as a cosmic force that caused undeserved pain, suffering, and misfortune on humans and/or on the created order. This cosmic force is generally associated with Satan or the devil and contradicts the will and positive intentions of a divine, benevolent being. Human actions that served evil’s ends and were in violation of the divinity’s prescriptions for right behavior in the divine/human relationship or in human community are collectively known as sins. The concepts of evil and sin are both applicable to black people in the United States insofar as their oppression and suffering are concerned. This essay examines evil and sin from the perspective of black theology and womanist theology. It first looks at early black theological treatments of evil, sin, and suffering, focusing on the views of scholars and theologians such as Albert Cleage, James H. Cone, Olin P. Moyd, and Riggins Earl. It then considers variations on the early expositions of evil and sin, womanist reflections on evil and sin, and the use of literary/cultural sources for reflection on evil and sin. Finally, it analyzes Catholic womanist perspectives on evil and sin.

Keywords: evil, sin, black people, black theology, womanist theology, suffering, Albert Cleage, James H. Cone, Olin P. Moyd, Riggins Earl

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