New Essays on Leibniz’s Theodicy

Oxford: Oxford University Press (2014)
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Abstract

In 1710 G. W. Leibniz published Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man, and the Origin of Evil. This book, the only one he published in his lifetime, established his reputation more than anything else he wrote. The Theodicy brings together many different strands of Leibniz's own philosophical system, and we get a rare snapshot of how he intended these disparate aspects of his philosophy to come together into a single, overarching account of divine justice in the face of the world's evils. At the same time, the Theodicy is a fascinating window into the context of philosophical theology in the seventeenth century. Leibniz had his finger on the intellectual pulse of his time, and this comes out very clearly in the Theodicy. He engages with all of the major lines of theological dispute of that time, demonstrating the encyclopaedic breadth of his understanding of the issues. Leibniz's Theodicy remains one of the most abiding systematic accounts of how evil is compatible with divine goodness. Any treatment of the problem of evil must, at some point, come to grips with Leibniz's proposed solution. This volume refreshes and deepens our understanding of this great work. Leading scholars present original essays which critically evaluate the Theodicy, providing a window on its historical context and giving close attention to the subtle and enduring philosophical arguments.

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Author Profiles

Samuel Newlands
University of Notre Dame
Larry M. Jorgensen
Skidmore College

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