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God's problem : how the Bible fails to answer our most important question-- why
Bart D. Ehrman
Adult Nonfiction BS680.S854 E37 2008

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In this sometimes provocative, often pedantic memoir of his own attempts to answer the great theological question about the persistence of evil in the world, Ehrman, a UNC-Chapel Hill religion professor, refuses to accept the standard theological answers. Through close readings of every section of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, he discovers that the Bible offers numerous answers that are often contradictory. The prophets think God sends pain and suffering as a punishment for sin and also that human beings who oppress others create such misery; the writers who tell the Jesus story and the Joseph stories think God works through suffering to achieve redemptive purposes; the writers of Job view pain as God's test; and the writers of Job and Ecclesiastes conclude that we simply cannot know why we suffer. In the end, frustrated that the Bible offers such a range of opposing answers, Ehrman gives up on his Christian faith and fashions a peculiarly utilitarian solution to suffering and evil in the world: first, make this life as pleasing to ourselves as we can and then make it pleasing to others. Although Ehrman's readings of the biblical texts are instructive, he fails to convince readers that these are indeed God's problems, and he fails to advance the conversation any further than it's already come. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

This serious book by a serious scholar will be talked about and cannot be ignored by any collection. Ehrman (religious studies, Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why) is a New York Times best-selling author and a familiar media figure in the scholarly discussion of the New Testament. Here, he turns from his usual historical-critical concerns to theological consideration of the problem of suffering: namely, if God is all-powerful and all-loving, how can suffering exist? Ehrman writes in a clear and engaging style, bringing personal reflection and reason to bear on academically sound readings of biblical perspectives on suffering, from both the Old and the New Testament. Ultimately, the book is a very personal statement that will anger some and resonate with others; most important, it will provoke mature consideration of this very important question. For all libraries.-Darby Orcutt, North Carolina State Univ. Libs., Raleigh (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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