Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God: Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry James


Product Details

Cornell University Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 0.56 X 8.96 inches | 0.72 pounds
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About the Author

Marilyn McCord Adams is Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of William Ockham and coeditor of The Problem of Evil.


"It is her own dissatisfaction with the usual strategies that philosophy and theology have adopted in the face of evil--strategies that she feels underestimate either the horror of evil or the goodness of God--that led her to mount her own philosophical alternative.... She proposes an entirely different approach. Instead of seeking reasons why a good God might permit evil, philosophy should seek an explanation of how God might 'make good' on evil."

--New York Times Book Review

"Adams argument is an important contribution to recent philosophical and theological discussions on the problem of evil.... Whether one agrees with... Adams' answer to the problem of evil, it is hard not to think that we are better off for the ways that her attempts to think about evil encourage and challenge us to take evil seriously."

--The Hedgehog Review

"By focusing on horrendous evils, Marilyn McCord Adams has transformed the way we formulate and discuss the problem of evil. All too often philosophical theism ignores the actual core of Christianity, the crucifixion of Jesus as a sacrifice. She has shown its relevance for philosophers of religion as they go about their business."

--Diogenes Allen, Princeton Theological Seminary

"Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God is a terrific book. This important and highly original contribution to the discussion of the problem of evil should interest philosophers and non-philosophers alike."

--William J. Wainwright, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

"If you thought nothing new could come of the stalled, stale debates in analytic philosophy over the problem of evil, think again. With characteristic elegance and precision, Marilyn McCord Adams decisively advances the discussion by including overlooked problems--notably, the horrendous evils of her title--and overlooked resources--from the Bible and the history of Christian thought."

--Kathryn Tanner, University of Chicago

"In this post-Holocaust world, much that passes for philosophical analysis of the problem of evil seems beside the point, if not culpably irrelevant. It is to Adams's great credit that in her often insightful discussion of the issue, she puts the emphasis where it belongs: on the victims' point of view.... A provocative book."

--Theological Studies

"It would be difficult to take offense at a book which is so manifestly honest in its search for the truth, and which so clearly expresses a deep awareness of, and compassion for, the suffering and moral frailty of human beings.... Whatever their own views on the problem of evil, most readers will find insights here that they will want to hold on to."

--Religious Studies

"Marilyn Adams... makes a compelling argument at several levels."

--First Things

"This book is based on work on God and evil that Adams did over a period of more than a decade.... But the book is by no means a mere collection of previously published essays.... The book integrates them into a unified whole that highlights their coherence and displays connections among them. So even those who are very familiar with her earlier work on God and evil will profit from reading the book carefully.... This is a brave book. It has something fresh to say on a difficult and important philosophical topic. It deserves readers who will debate its challenging claims."

--The Philosophical Review