Als de koppen van de Leviathan

Het begrip kwaad in de Westerse cultuur

Translated title of the contribution: Like the Heads of Leviathan: The Concept of Evil in Western Culture

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Like the Heads of Leviathan: The Concept of Evil in Western Culture

In this article I discuss the concept of evil. I begin by showing that the concept of evil is not religiously neutral. Here, I will discuss the Western view of evil, influenced by Judaism and Christianity. Subsequently, I discuss Leibniz's classic distinction between three forms of evil - metaphysical, physical and moral - and introduce the categories of natural and non-moral evil. Next, I show that one and the same event may be good in one respect and evil in another. Thus, the passion of Christ is a physical evil when we look at the suffering undergone, a moral evil when we look at the act of those who inflict it on Him, and a moral good when we look at the act of Christ: He gives His life for His friends. This I call the ambiguity of evil. Finally, I discuss two views on the origin of evil: dualism and the view of evil as a privation of a good that should be there, and argue in favour of the second.
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)181–197
Number of pages17
JournalJaarboek Thomas-Instituut te Utrecht
Volume36
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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Leviathan
Evil
Western Culture
Physical
Metaphysical
Christ
Natural Evil
Dualism
Privation
Christianity
Moral Evil
Judaism
Passion of Christ
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Cite this

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abstract = "Like the Heads of Leviathan: The Concept of Evil in Western CultureIn this article I discuss the concept of evil. I begin by showing that the concept of evil is not religiously neutral. Here, I will discuss the Western view of evil, influenced by Judaism and Christianity. Subsequently, I discuss Leibniz's classic distinction between three forms of evil - metaphysical, physical and moral - and introduce the categories of natural and non-moral evil. Next, I show that one and the same event may be good in one respect and evil in another. Thus, the passion of Christ is a physical evil when we look at the suffering undergone, a moral evil when we look at the act of those who inflict it on Him, and a moral good when we look at the act of Christ: He gives His life for His friends. This I call the ambiguity of evil. Finally, I discuss two views on the origin of evil: dualism and the view of evil as a privation of a good that should be there, and argue in favour of the second.",
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language = "Dutch",
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Als de koppen van de Leviathan : Het begrip kwaad in de Westerse cultuur. / Sarot, Marcel.

In: Jaarboek Thomas-Instituut te Utrecht, Vol. 36, 2017, p. 181–197.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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