Theological Currents

Russell Re Manning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


I begin with some general remarks about the Christian theological perspective on evil. Christian theologians have traditionally approached discussions of evil through the lens of what Paul Ricoeur calls the “Adamic myth”, which seeks to locate the origin of evil in an anthropological fall from a pristine, created paradise (Ricoeur 1987: 203). By developing a particular interpretation of the Genesis narrative of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the Christian tradition has tended towards a view on evil that separates it from the original divine act of creation and places responsibility for evil upon humanity (a position that has its philosophical outworking in the distinction, vital for Kant and almost all moral philosophy since, between “natural” and “moral” evil). On the basis of this Adamic myth of the origin of evil, Christian theologians have developed a particular interpretation of the theological and ontological character of evil, as well as a characteristic ambivalence about the appropriate way to respond theologically to evil. The former concerns the distinctive Christian discussions of sin and of the non-being of evil. The latter finds expression in the uncertain hesitation between what Ricoeur calls “the path of theodicy” and “the path of wisdom” (Ricoeur 1987: 204).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe History of Evil in the Early Twentieth Century
Subtitle of host publication1900–1950 CE
EditorsVictoria S. Harrison
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781351138369
ISBN (Print)9781138236844
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2018

Publication series

NameHistory of Evil


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