Sarah Coakley, Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, will present the lecture at 3:00pm in Salon del Rey A at the Hilton Palacio del Rio in conjunction with the AAR & SBL Annual Meetings in San Antonio, Texas. A reception will follow at 4:30pm in Salon del Rey B.
Abstract: The ‘problem of evil’ has dominated modern analytic philosophy of religion, with ‘original sin’ merely seen as a further complication for the ‘free will defense’. This lecture starts from a different direction: a close exegesis of the Genesis Fall narrative itself, with a focus on ‘sin’ as misdirected desire. Drawing on a rich set of alternative renditions (from rabbinical, Greek, Syriac and Latin sources), a typology of contrasting classic accounts of sin is essayed. While each generates a theodicy problem of its own, a favoured philosophical solution emerges, intensifying rather than dissolving the classic felix culpa paradox, but freshly illuminating the relation between desire and freedom.