The Justification of Suffering: Holocaust Theodicy and Torture
Contribution to Book
Defenders of theodicy, the attempt to reconcile God's power and goodness with even the most horrendous evil, are allies—unwittingly perhaps but allies nonetheless—of the defenders of torture, for both justify suffering in the name of a greater good. At first glance, that proposition may seem problematic, if not offensive. Focused on philosophical and theological inquiry about God's nature and the reasons for evil and suffering, theodicy is primarily intellectual. On the other hand, while moral and legal analyses of torture lie in the realm of the intellect, torture itself is physical and psychological. It entails the deliberate infliction of bodily and mental harm. These differences notwithstanding, I argue that those who engage in theodicy and those who inflict torture share what can be called a similar hermeneutic of instrumentalization: both theodicy and torture interpret suffering as a means to an end.
Leonard Grob & John K. Roth
University of Washington Press
Pinnock, S. K. (2017). The justification of suffering: Holocaust theodicy and torture. In L. Grob & J. K. Roth (Eds.), Losing trust in the world: Holocaust scholars confront torture (pp. 114-129). University of Washington Press.
Losing Trust in the World: Holocaust Scholars Confront Torture