Is it justice when deities allow righteous human beings to suffer? This question has occupied the minds of theologians and philosophers for many centuries and is still hotly disputed. All kinds of argument have been developed to exonerate the 'good God' of any guilt in this respect. Since Leibniz it has become customary to describe such attempts as 'theodicy', the justification of God. In modern philosophical debate this use of 'theodicy' has been questioned. However, this volume shows that it is still a workable term for a concept that originated much earlier than is commonly realised.
Experts from many disciplines follow the emergence of the theodicy problem from ancient Near Eastern texts of the second millennium BCE through biblical literature, from both Old and New Testament, intertestamental writings including Qumran, Philo Judaeus and rabbinic Judaism.
Antti Laato, Ph.D. (1988) in Theology, Åbo Akademi University, Finland, is Professor of Old Testament Exegetics and Judaic Studies at the same university.
Johannes C. de Moor, Ph.D. (1971) in Semitic Philology, Free University, Amsterdam, is Professor Emeritus of Semitic languages at Kampen, The Netherlands.
"…this volume is highly recommended as as valuable resource in biblical theology on the topic of theodicy." – Robert Gnuse, in:
The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 2005 "…the volume as a whole will provide readers with an enormous fund of information and insight organized around a theme of perennial importance." – J.W. Rogerson, in:
The Expository Times "…it is a valuable addition to any collection of resources because nowhere else has such a range of literature been examined on the important issue of theodicy in one volume. As such it is a welcome addition to any theological library." – Merryl Blair, in:
Australian Biblical Review, 2004
All those interested in the history of ideas which played a formative role in modern theological and philosophical thought. All those engaged in the study of the ancient Near East, the Bible and early Judaism.