"A valuable contribution to the literature of theology and ethics, combining in a fascinating way biblical, theological, pastoral, and socioethical themes... The study is of immense value because it identifies the modern idolatry that views suffering as absurd and devoid of meaning... The book is a marvelous exercise in cultural self-analysis that is preliminary to any meaningful exorcism and redirection." --Kenneth Vaux Theology Today

"Passionate, imaginative, learned, literary, pithy, and at every point searching, Suffering is a notable achievement, not least because it pricks the heart and conscience, making the reader share in the deep experience of suffering that lies behind its writing." --James A. Carpenter Anglican Theological Review


Hear me and answer,
for my cares give me no peace.
I am panic-stricken at the shouts of my enemies,
at the shrill clamour of the wicked.

My heart is torn with anguish
and the terrors of death come upon me.
Fear and trembling overwhelm me
and I shudder from head to foot.

(Ps. 55: 2–5, NEB)

Personal anguish like the Psalmist's has been experienced in every age. To this day people continue to ask questions that can neither be answered nor dismissed. Why must we suffer? Can pain possibly have any meaning? Should one learn from suffering, as antiquity and the Judeo-Christian tradition urge? Is that even possible? Does our culture deny the value of suffering? Is a guarantee against suffering worth acquiring at all costs? Should one wish for himself and others a life free from . . .

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