The Problem of Evil and the History of Peoples: Think Amalek

Eleonore Stump

in Divine Evil?

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199576739
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595165 | DOI:
The Problem of Evil and the History of Peoples: Think Amalek

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This chapter discusses the problem of evil as it is raised by the story in the Hebrew Bible in which God commands Israelites to slaughter the Amalekites and possible defenses or theodicies as regards that story. One way to deal with this story is to reject it as non-veridical, either by claiming that it should not be taken as part of divine revelation or by interpreting it to say something other than its literal meaning. This chapter adopts a different approach. It partially describes a putatively possible world which is very similar to the actual world, including the existence of evil, but in which the central claims of Christianity are also true. The chapter then investigates, as a thought experiment, whether the story of the slaughter of the Amalekites could be literally true in a world of that sort. The chapter argues that it could.

Keywords: problem of evil; defense; theodicy; Hebrew Bible; Amalekites

Chapter.  9216 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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