The Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation considerably deepened the moral and philosophical understanding of the concept of evil. Building on the early Christian Fathers and especially on Augustine’s seminal analyses of the causes and effects of the human fall, post-Reformation thinkers at once adopted and modified his refutation of Manichean evil with ideas imported from John Calvin, Jacobus Arminius, and later, from “natural” or rational religion. Given the current resistance to standard theological explanations of evil, this article centers on the rational approaches associated first with Richard Hooker and then with his most radical disciple, Edward, Lord Herbert of Cherbury. Tracing the development of rational ideas of evil, the article examines these ideas’ exploration in literature by William Shakespeare and John Milton in the characters of Macbeth and Satan.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 163-197
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.