Publications

Below, you will find a repository of links to publications (or information about publications) arising from the Problem of Evil in Modern and Contemporary Thought research initiative. As soon as publications become available, they will be linked from here.

Paul Draper, Review of Wandering in Darkness: Narrative and the Problem of Suffering

Eleonore Stump's magnum opus, Wandering in Darkness, is an ambitious and impressive book on the intellectual problem of God and evil. It contains an abundance of wisdom on topics as diverse as the nature of love, the importance of narrative for philosophy, the epistemology of "second person" experience, and the relationship between human flourishing and the "desires of the heart." The goal of the book is to solve the evidential problem of suffering (or, to be more precise, the evidential problem of mentally fully functional adult human suffering). Whether it accomplishes that goal may depend, as I will explain later, on what one takes the evidential problem of suffering to be…

Paul Draper, "Christian Theism and Life on Earth, in A Companion to Science and Christianity, ed. Alan Padgett and James Stump (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming).

Paul Draper is is Professor of Philosophy at Purdue University. He received his Ph.D. in 1985 from the University of California, Irvine. This is his third year at the center. His first year was in 1985-86 and his second was last year when he was the Plantinga Fellow. Draper's current research interests include the evidential problem of evil, skeptical theism, atheism, the theoretical virtue of simplicity, and the problem of conflict of interest in philosophical research on religion. He also edits the journal Philo and serves on the editorial boards of Faith and Philosophy, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, and Religious Studies.

Michael Hickson, "Theodicy and Toleration in Bayle's Dictionary," forthcoming, Journal of the History of Philosophy

Pierre Bayle’s early writings are largely concerned with religious toleration, while most of his later works are devoted to defending his controversial thesis that there can be no purely rational resolution of the problem of evil (i.e. no successful theodicy). Bayle scholars have treated these two concerns—toleration and theodicy—as separate and unconnected in Bayle’s thought. I argue that in four places in his “middle work,” the Historical and Critical Dictionary, Bayle connects his concern for toleration with his refutations of theodicy. I show that there are historical, theological, and philosophical connections between the two seemingly disparate topics. An important result of this paper is that the atheistic reading of Bayle, as popular today as it has ever been, loses one its most important pillars, for Bayle’s reflection on evil, I argue, is not meant to undermine religious belief, but rather to encourage religious toleration, particularly of Calvinists.

Michael Hickson is assistant professor of philosophy at Santa Clara University in California. He works primarily in early modern philosophy.

Samuel Newlands, "Natural Disasters and the Wrath of God"

"When the Rev. Pat Robertson suggested that the January earthquake in Haiti was God's punishment for a 200-year-old secret pact with the devil, he faced outrage and scorn, including some from fellow religious leaders. But for all its absurdity (was the 1751 Haiti earthquake a divine warning shot over the bow?), Mr. Robertson's claim isn't very remarkable. There's nothing novel about a preacher correlating a natural disaster with a divine punishment. What is new is that many religious believers now dismiss such a theory out of hand, a relatively recent development…"—The Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2010.

Samuel Newlands is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, where his research interests include early modern philosophy, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion. He has published articles in many leading journals of philosophy, including Noûs, and co-edited a festschrift for Robert Adams. Professor Newlands is also the associate director for the Center for Philosophy of Religion.

Tim Townsend, Evil Will: an American Pastor's Battle for Nazi Souls at Nuremberg and the Ancient Alliance between the Divine and the Damned

This book, to be published by William Morrow, examines the fascinating story of Henry Gerecke, who served as chaplain to the Nazis on trial before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. It also investigates the relationship between religion and evil.

Tim Townsend has been the religion reporter at the Post-Dispatch since June 2004. He has covered everything from the funeral of Pope John Paul II to the Muslim American experience since the September 11 attacks. He also writes a news analysis column called “Keep the Faith” and oversees the newspaper's faith blog, “Civil Religion.” Townsend previously covered personal finance and consumer news for The Wall Street Journal. His stories have appeared in many newspapers of record. In 2005, he won the Templeton Religion Reporter of the Year Award, given by the Religion Newswriters Association.