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Divine Evil?The Moral Character of the God of Abraham$
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Michael Bergmann, Michael J. Murray, and Michael C. Rea

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199576739

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199576739.001.0001

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Comments on ‘The Problem of Evil and the History of Peoples’

Comments on ‘The Problem of Evil and the History of Peoples’

(p.198) Comments on ‘The Problem of Evil and the History of Peoples’*
Divine Evil?

Paul Draper

Oxford University Press

Eleonore Stump's approach to the issue of the character of the biblical God is as nuanced as it is thought-provoking. She refuses to ask how we should interpret the story of Samuel and the Amalekites, because she recognizes that the plausibility of an interpretation is relative to the beliefs of the interpreter. For example, for Christians who believe the Bible to be, not revelation itself, but just a fallible human report of revelation, it would be foolish to take seriously the idea that a morally perfect God literally commanded the Israelites to slaughter the Amalekites. This is why Stump conducts a thought experiment. She asks a question, not about the actual world, but about a putatively possible world in which the central claims of her particular version of orthodox Christianity, which I will call ‘Eleonorean Christianity’, are true. In this way, she hopes to enable us to see the story of the Amalekites through her eyes and thus to appreciate why her interpretation of the story is plausible for someone with beliefs like hers. Second, Stump wisely refuses to discuss problems of evil that are not uniquely biblical (such as the problem of why God allows horrific suffering) even if those problems are raised by the story. Instead, she limits her attention to problems like why God commands one people to destroy another, problems that Eleonorean Christians face only because they believe that the Bible is divinely revealed....

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