Ronald K. Rittgers

in The Reformation of Suffering

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199795086
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950171 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology


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The introduction opens by observing the universal human desire to find meaning in the midst of the meaning-destroying forces of suffering and death. It discusses the human effort to construct “doctrines of suffering” that seek to explain the purpose of suffering and commend (and command) ways of understanding and coping with it. The introduction states that the primary creators of doctrines of suffering in the premodern West have been the Christian clergy. Noting the recent scholarly fascination with the Christian clergy, the introduction observes the lack of attention to the ministry of consolation—no one has examined the clergy’s changing doctrines of suffering in sufficient depth. Arguing that the most significant change in these doctrines took place during the Protestant Reformation, the introduction goes on to explain how the book seeks to remedy this scholarly oversight.

Keywords: Christian clergy; suffering; consolation; Protestant Reformation

Chapter.  4033 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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