Evil

evil, antithesis of good. The philosophical problem of evil is most simply stated in the question, why does evil exist in the world? Death, disease, and sin are often included in the problem. Traditional Christian belief ascribes evil to the misdeeds of humans, to whom God has granted free will. The Christian systems that believe in predestination and justification by faith claim, like their Christian opponents, that God is still not the author of the evil men do. One explanation of evil is dualism, as in Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism. In optimism evil is treated often as more apparent than real. The book of Job is a literary treatment of the problem.

See R. Taylor, Good and Evil (1970); F. Sontag, The God of Evil (1970); R. Stivers, Evil in Modern Myth and Ritual (1982); D. Parkin, ed., The Anthropology of Evil (1987).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

On Evil
Thomas Aquinas; Richard Regan; Brian Davies.
Oxford University Press, 2003
Evil and the Augustinian Tradition
Charles T. Mathewes.
Cambridge University Press, 2001
Naming Evil, Judging Evil
Ruth W. Grant.
University of Chicago Press, 2006
What Evil Means to Us
C. Fred Alford.
Cornell University Press, 1997
The History of the Devil and the Idea of Evil, from the Earliest Times to the Present Day
Paul Carus.
Open Court, 1974
The Atrocity Paradigm: A Theory of Evil
Claudia Card.
Oxford University Press, 2002
On Evil
Adam Morton.
Routledge, 2004
Wickedness
Mary Midgley.
Routledge, 2001
Understanding Evil: An Interdisciplinary Approach
Margaret Sönser Breen.
Rodopi, 2003
Rethinking Evil: Contemporary Perspectives
María Pía Lara.
University of California Press, 2001
Good and Evil: An Absolute Conception
Raimond Gaita.
Routledge, 2004 (2nd edition)
Sartre and Evil: Guidelines for a Struggle
Haim Gordon; Rivca Gordon.
Greenwood Press, 1995
Cultural Expressions of Evil and Wickedness: Wrath, Sex, Crime
Terrie Waddell.
Rodopi, 2003
The Psychology of Good and Evil: Why Children, Adults, and Groups Help and Harm Others
Ervin Staub.
Cambridge University Press, 2003
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