Why Evil Exists : The Great Courses: Comparative & World Religion

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Charles Mathewes
  • Series: The Great Courses: Comparative & World Religion
  • 19 hrs and 6 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Whether we view it in theological, philosophical, or psychological terms, evil remains both a deeply intriguing question and a crucially relevant global issue. Now, Professor Mathewes offers you a richly provocative and revealing encounter with the question of human evil - a dynamic inquiry into Western civilization's greatest thinking and insight on this critical subject.
With the inspired guidance of these 36 lectures, you'll engage with how both individual thinkers and larger trends of thought have faced evil, studying the work of major theologians, philosophers, poets, political theorists, novelists, psychologists, and journalists. You'll study the psychology of evil in Islamic theology, as well as the weighty meditations of St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Anselm of Lyon, and Martin Luther. And among contemporary views, you'll grasp Arthur Cohen's extraordinary post-Holocaust reformulation of faith in a God whose reality "is our prefiguration" - the promise of what we may become.
Parallel with the theological accounts, you'll also study primary currents of Western secular thinking on evil in the work of key philosophers and social theorists. You'll investigate Thomas Hobbes's proposition that good and evil are invented constructs of human language, and Kant's conception of morality as located in the human will. You contemplate Freud's hypothesis of the "death drive," an innate, destructive force of the psyche, and Hannah Arendt's highly influential analysis of the "moral inversion" of Nazism.
So why does evil exist in the world? Join a deeply insightful teacher in facing this fascinating, primordial question - a chance to bring your own most discerning thought to a crucial challenge for our world.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not Impressed: Disjointed

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would not recommend these set of lectures to a friend. The very first lecture we get a very good introduction as to what we will be dealing with in these set of lectures. The author fails to associate concrete examples of evil things with humans. However he does give a good summary as to what other authors say about humans and evil doings.

Would you be willing to try another book from The Great Courses? Why or why not?

I did listen to other courses from The Great Courses and I would recommend them.

What three words best describe Professor Charles Mathewes’s voice?

Charming - Passionate - Monotone

Could you see Why Evil Exists being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

It could be a documentary of sorts.
As actors I would imagine... Harrison Ford, Keanu Reeves and Gillian Anderson

Any additional comments?

If you get to buy this book you will need to supplement it with further readings as there are a lot of gaps. A lot of more information could have been given in the space that was provided.

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- Sergio

Not what I expected from Great Courses

What disappointed you about Why Evil Exists?

ATM I have library of 25+ Great Courses books, and expectation is to get scientific material, which in this case I did not. Book should be titled 'Interpretation of Historic Writings'. Every lecture is just taking some text and going through it, which does not answer the question why evil exists. Example would be whole lecture on how 'Dostoevsky in his 'Crime and Punishment' shows evil of nihilism in some way'. Then there's lecture for Niche, Marx and 36 of other writers, philosophers and activists.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?


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Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-07-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses