Poetics of Evil

Poetics of Evil➾ [Download] ➾ Poetics of Evil By Philip Tallon ➳ – Oaklandjobs.co.uk What role does art play in unravelling the theological problem of evil What can aesthetics show us about God's goodness in a world of iniuity Philip Tallon constructs an aesthetic theodicy through a f What role does art play in unravelling the theological problem of evil What can aesthetics show us about God's goodness in a world of iniuity Philip Tallon constructs an aesthetic theodicy through a fascinating examination of Christian aesthetics ranging from the writings of Augustine to contemporary philosophyTallon offers a new framework for theodicy that allows the substantial inclusion of aesthetics building on the work of Eleonore Stump He then examines the concept of cosmic harmony the predominant aesthetic motif within medieval theodicy and shows how Augustine develops this theme by interweaving his Poetics of Epub / metaphysical moral and aesthetic views of reality Tallon then examines other aesthetic themes within theodicy with special attention to tragedy a motif that has become increasingly integrated into theodicy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries He shows where tragedy falls short as a sufficient theme for theodicy but also demonstrates how it complements Augustine's theme of cosmic harmonyFinally Tallon considers the horror of evil an aesthetic theme that has often been used as an attack on the existence of God but which has recently been used to understand how theodicy should be formulated to respond to the worst evils By digging deeply into the darker side of aesthetics The Poetics of Evil offers a deeper perception of tragedy and malevolence but also a richer understanding of the Christian response to the problem of evil. Finished reading on October 5 2018In The Poetics of Evil Philip Tallon asks “How can artistic works illuminate the problem of evil uestion and deepen the theodicy discussion?” xvi Theodicy is an attempt to justify the ways of God with respect to the presence of evil in the world Tallon shares his view on what a successful theodicy should accomplish “I see the task of theodicy as helping to resolve the prima facie tension between the idea of God and occurrent evil with the goal of resolving the tension in God’s favor” xvii Tallon’s thesis is “that aesthetic considerations play a valuable role in the task of theodicy and hence theodicists ought to highlight aesthetics as part of their goal to attempt to resolve the prima facie tension between the idea of God and the fact of evil” xviii italics removed Tallon also believes that aesthetics can “enable us to perceive of God’s providence” 92 In discussing aesthetics he is primarily concerned with a “philosophical reflection on beauty” xviii The Poetics of Evil is divided into two parts Part 1 “The Foundations of Aesthetic Theodicy” examines two broad trends in theodicy the role of aesthetics in theodicy and the role of aesthetics in theology Tallon identifies two broad types of theodicy One he calls “Irenaean” named after Irenaeus According to Tallon this type of theodicy views God’s plans unfolding in a process that leads to maturation or completion “the Irenaean conception is eschatological in focus looking to a future resolution” 9 An Augustinian theodicy named of course after Augustine by contrast holds that “in the big picture all good and evil are integrated in the perfect work of art” 8 The Irenaean theodicy maintains that while ultimate harmony is not yet present history is progressing to an ultimate eschatological resolution On the Augustinian theodicy at any point in time the balance of good and evil reveals a beautiful harmony Tallon presents John Hick as an example of a theologian who holds to an Irenaean theodicy and rejects an aesthetic theodicy In chapter 1 “Aesthetics and the Scope of Theodicy” Tallon shows how infreuently aesthetic considerations have been factored into theodicies Instead the primary consideration is God’s moral goodness Usually those who provide a defense or theodicy in the face of evil suggest that God has a morally sufficient reason for allowing the occurrence of evil Tallon lays the blame for the suspicion of aesthetics at the feet of Immanuel Kant whose Critiue of Judgment separated aesthetic from moral judgments Due to the influence of Kant theodicists in the recent past have avoid aesthetics values as a reason even among many for why God would allow evil to occur Another theodicy declares that this world is the best of all possible worlds an idea famously propounded by Gottfried Leibniz Surely a best possible world would include aesthetic values However Tallon dismisses this theodicy as untenable “Recent work on the concept of a best possible world has shown the idea to be incoherent and otherwise generally unhelpful” 29 Other theodicies are not without problems Some posit that the reality of evil helps to perceive goodness On this way of thinking the contrasting darkness of evil helps to highlight the splendor of goodness Similarly some theologians maintain that the real presence of beauty in the world helps us to trust God in the face of evil Yet it can be argued that if beauty counts as evidence for God’s existence then evil counts as evidence against God’s existence In chapter 2 “Aesthetics and Theological Insight” Tallon laments that “the relationship between theodicy and aesthetics has remained almost entirely unexplored” in the rapidly growing amount of literature devoted to the problem of evil “As an area of study it aesthetics often generates little interest in mainstream philosophy and theology” 47 Aesthetics values are not enough in the eyes of many to justify evil “To value aesthetic delight to the exclusion of the well being of humans does not fit with our most basic understandings of Christian love” 50 In this way of thinking aesthetic considerations are believed to be opposed to “moral and cognitive concerns” 51Tallon believes that this dichotomy has been created by Kant who “wants to differentiate aesthetic perception from other faculties such as cognition pure reason or morality practical reason” 51 In Kant’s philosophy beauty can serve as a symbol of moral goodness but only as a symbol “While the beautiful according to Kant may be the mascot of the moral so to speak it cannot play on the team” 53 Whereas past theologians such as Augustine and Thomas Auinas included reflections on beauty in their theology and even their considerations of evil one is hard pressed to find such discussions in modern works of theology and theodicy Tallon clearly views this development as a negative one He sees no reason why aesthetic considerations cannot be added to moral judgments Tallon implies that this is a false dichotomyTallon then turns to consider how aesthetics can enhance Christian theology and philosophy He clearly values analytic philosophy but he also contends that it cannot capture the full range of human experience “The ambiguities of life and literature are sometimes impossible to fully analyze” Aesthetics is valuable to theodicy because it “may offer us insight that cannot be fully translated into analytic language” 62 If God is beautiful as the Bible and numerous theologians have maintained then an experience of beauty through art or through nature can grant us a greater understanding of God which is a valuable theological insight For Augustine and Auinas beauty is linked to God’s being as is truth and goodness “The true is the good is the beautiful” 74 When linked to the goodness and beauty of God even things that might appear evil Jesus’ crucifixion or the death of a martyr can be viewed as beautiful “Even ugly things could be made beautiful by a deeper or wider knowledge of the surrounding state of affairs” 77 Part 2 of the book “Toward an Aesthetic Theodicy” looks at three models of theodicy that incorporate aesthetic themes Chapter 3 “Fearful Symmetry Theodicy and Cosmic Harmony” explores the concept of “cosmic harmony” found in the writings of Augustine In reviewing Augustine’s works Tallon concludes “The thread that runs through much of his writing is a continual desire wherever possible to discern the beautiful logic whereby God has providentially ordered the cosmos” 93 italics removed Tallon explains Augustine’s theory that evil is privation a corruption of what God made good Since evil itself is not a substance no “thing” in creation is truly evil The things that God made exist in perfect harmony Sin entered the world through the free choice of humans but sin has not destroyed cosmic harmony “The universe when seen from the vantage point of totality remains beautiful just and rationally ordered by the providence of God” 116 In Augustine’s own words recorded in De vera religione “On True Religion” “That which we abhor in any part of it gives us the greatest pleasure when we consider the universe as a whole” 116 After defending Augustine against various objectors Tallon acknowledges that Augustine’s theodicy “remains incomplete because such a picture of perfect harmony evades our vision and fails to connect with much of how we experience the world” 131–32 In chapter 4 “Poetic Injustice Theodicy and Tragic Vision” Tallon examines a second aesthetic theme that of tragedy “Tragedy offers us a sad spectacle that yet retains a beauty which is not defeated despite the prevalence of evil” 137 In considering the typical elements of tragedy Tallon draws on sources as varied as Aristotle Chaucer and Nietzsche Non Christian thinkers believe that tragedy awakes in humans a sense of nobility causing the best of human virtues to rise to the surface Yet Christianity is in tension with tragedy In the words of George Steiner “Christianity is an anti tragic vision of the world The Christian view knows only partial or episodic tragedy” 147 The story of Christianity can be conceived of “as a riches to rags to even greater riches story” 147 In this chapter Tallon highlight the unorthodox theodicy of Wendy Farley who focuses on suffering rather than sin Farley emphasizes “the personal and immanent elements of theodicy rather than the cosmic and transcendent elements” 150 Farley does not believe in a clear fall from the heights of a good creation Rather she seems to believe that the finite creation is bound to decay and that diverse creatures will inevitably come into conflict with one another She dwells on radical suffering and the irrationality of evil She cannot find a reason why such suffering should exist Apparently she cannot see how Jesus can restore the world “Even the death of a Messiah cannot atone for the anguish of the world” 157 Tallon cannot see how this is a Christian theodicy Farley is wrong not to consider Christian eschatology We should ponder not only the cross but also the resurrection Yet Farley’s view does offer something helpful she takes suffering and the compassion it generates seriouslyThe final aesthetic theme that Tallon considers is horror which is the subject of chapter 5 “The Monsters and the Critics Theodicy and Horrendous Evils” Horrific evils are grotesue monstrous alarming They produce a visceral reaction in us One need only think of the Holocaust “Horrors focus our attention on the darkest and most horrible details of human suffering and therefore give us a powerful sense of evil” 182 In this chapter Tallon primarily responds to the theodicy of Marilyn McCord Adams “For Adams the primary challenge in the problem of evil discussion is the apparently logical incongruity between the goodness of God and horrendous evils” 185 She believes that any successful theodicy must provide an answer for how God will show his goodness to those who have experienced horrendous evils She also believes that a theodicy must show how evil is defeated God will defeat evil because like a great artist he can enfold the suffering or our lives into a great work of art “By recognition of the pattern of God’s work humans come to realize the beauty of their life a beauty whose uniueness is somewhat derived from the way that God has overcome their own personal horrors” 188 The greatest proof that God can and will overcome our personal horrors is to be found in the sacrifice of Jesus Adams looks beyond the cross to the eschatological beatific vision which will far outweigh any horrendous evils that people have suffered Adams’s theology is not without problems but her focus on the need for resolution is one that should be incorporated into any successful theodicy The beatific vision and cosmic resolution aspects of our theodicy are not necessarily aesthetic; they “can be thought of in moral or relational terms” But aesthetic dimensions of the argument can help obtain “a clearer perception of their value” 197In the conclusion to his book Tallon restates his belief that though aesthetic themes are not able to carry a theodicy on their own they can and should be incorporated into a theodicy In reviewing the three aesthetic themes of cosmic harmony tragedy and horror Tallon believes that Augustine’s idea of moment to moment harmony in this world is untenable 201 However it can be modified so that cosmic harmony is eschatological As for the theme of tragedy it helps us take suffering seriously and it gives rise to compassion The theme of horror is valuable because it “demands eschatological resolution” 202The Poetics of Evil is well written and well researched Tallon engages a wide range of theologians past and present He has identified some important aesthetic themes that have been used in theodicies Yet the book also feels very incomplete for three reasons First the book doesn’t get to the heart of the problem of evil until the end when tragedy and horror are discussed Prior to that point Tallon doesn’t make it clear why evil is such a problem and why anyone should appeal to aesthetics to help bring insight into this problem He would have done well to discuss the problem of evil review various non aesthetic defenses and theodicies and then show why these feel incomplete At that point he could have demonstrated how aesthetic considerations could complete what was lacking and then he could have reviewed the aesthetic themes presented in chapters 3–5Second Tallon doesn’t reveal his theological cards He spends much of his time reviewing the work of other theologians While he does evaluate their positions it is not clear what he believes about certain issues like free will he likely holds to libertarian free will but he doesn’t speak negatively about compatibilism Some readers may view this as a strength; I do notThird and most importantly Tallon doesn’t propose his own aesthetic theodicy His book moves as the subtitle suggests toward an aesthetic theodicy But he doesn’t arrive at one His work is valuable but it feels incomplete as if he is merely setting the table at which someone else will later dine I suppose it is not fair to judge Tallon on something that he is not even trying to do in this book propose a theodicy but it is hard not to feel that the book is incomplete Perhaps having set the table for an aesthetic theodicy he will serve one in the future Very in depth treatment of aesthetic theodicies Used this for a Master's level problem of evil course A couple of items1 This book is very expensive Found a used copy on marketplace for 40 but it normally goes for close to 100 2 It is very dense packs a lot into just over 200 pages Having said those two things it is an excellent work and one of very few available on this particular topic A must have for an advanced apologist or someone wanting graduate level material on the problem of evil

Poetics of Evil Epub á Poetics of  Epub /
  • Hardcover
  • 288 pages
  • Poetics of Evil
  • Philip Tallon
  • English
  • 25 January 2016
  • 9780199778935