Jewish and Christian Continental Thinkers Respond to the Holocaust
Publication Year: 2002
Published by: State University of New York Press
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Dissatisfaction with theodicy is the passion driving the production of this book. In contemporary Jewish and Christian thought, the rejection of theodicy and the development of post-Holocaust theology are closely intertwined. The image of Auschwitz represents a drastic rupture in historical consciousness and philosophical methodology in response to evil. After...
1 TYPES OF APPROACHES TO HOLOCAUST SUFFERING Practical Responses as Alternatives to Theodicy
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THE TOPIC OF EVIL has been widely discussed in academic as well as popular venues in North America and Europe over the course of the twentieth century. One reason for sustained attention to evil lies in the social and political circumstances of recent history. Contemporary consciousness of evil centers around actual events of massive death and destruction that are seared into...
2 EXISTENTIAL ENCOUNTER WITH EVIL Gabriel Marcel’s Response to Suffering as a Trial
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EXISTENTIALIST THOUGHT IS A branch of continental philosophy that rose to prominence in the turbulent decades following World War I. Major representatives of the movement are Karl Jaspers, Martin Heidegger, Gabriel Marcel, Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Buber, and Albert Camus. Despite the popular characterization of existentialist philosophers as atheists, a number of...
3 DIALOGICAL FAITH Martin Buber’s I-Thou Response to Suffering and Its Meaning
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JEWISH THINKER MARTIN BUBER is well known as an existentialist philosopher, biblical interpreter, and historian of Hasidic Judaism. His impact on contemporary Jewish thought has been significant and enduring. Moreover, Buber’s I-Thou philosophy has widely influenced Protestant Christian thinkers, such as Rudolf Bultmann, Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, and Dorothee Soelle.1 His most...
4 MARXIST THEORY AND PRACTICE Scientific and Humanist Marxism
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THE EXISTENTIALIST THINKERS EXAMINED show predominant concern for relations between individuals, although they do attend to the communal dimension of suffering and its solution at least to some degree. However, they do not frame responses to evil and suffering in terms of political protest, reform, and revolution, as do political and liberation theologians under the...
5 FAITH AS HOPE IN HISTORY Ernst Bloch and Political Post-Holocaust Theology
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ERNST BLOCH IS A SECULAR Jewish philosopher and a major representative of warm stream Marxism. Bloch’s most influential work, the three-volume Principle of Hope, interprets traditional Jewish and Christian hopes as congruent with Marxist ones. He considers religious faith as centrally concerned with the gravity of suffering and injustice. Faith in God is congruent...
6 SOLIDARITY AND RESISTANCE Johann Baptist Metz’s Theodicy-Sensitive Response to Suffering
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BLOCH PRAISES RELIGION FOR its revolutionary potential from the standpoint of humanist Marxist philosophy. Johann Baptist Metz, in contrast, is a Catholic thinker whose work falls under the rubric of political fundamental theology.1 However, Metz’s thought bears strong resemblance to Bloch’s method of interpreting Jewish and Christian faith to expose their political...
7 PRAGMATICS, EXISTENTIAL AND POLITICAL Comparison, Contrast, and Complementarity
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THE EXISTENTIALIST AND POLITICAL methods of approach converge on the insight that a Jewish or Christian response to suffering should include reflection on religious practices. Despite the significant differences in their portrayals of faith, two religious postures emerge as central to both approaches: hope and other-regard, portrayed as I-Thou relation or...
8 BEYOND THEODICY Evaluating Theodicy From a Practical Perspective
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THE CONTEXTUAL APPROACHES to suffering examined in the previous chapter are extensions of the political approach in their attention to social position. But they do not repeat the Marxian fixation on revolutionary resistance found in the work of Bloch and Metz. Instead, a dynamic balance between faith postures of acceptance and resistance emerges. Cumulatively,...
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Page Count: 195
Publication Year: 2002
Series Title: SUNY series in Theology and Continental Thought