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Title: Antitheodicy, atheodicy and Jewish mysticism in Holocaust Theology
Author: Garner, Daniel Osborn
ISNI:       0000 0003 6947 2586
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis will contribute to the scholarly understanding of Jewish religious responses to the Holocaust in four ways. First, it will provide a constructive critique of Zachary Braiterman's analysis of Holocaust theology and his concept of antitheodicy in particular. It will expand his analysis by examining some Holocaust theologians he did not engage with in his original study. It will also narrow down his definition of antitheodicy in order to avoid the charge that it is too wide-ranging for effective use. Second, this thesis will introduce and define the concept of 'atheodicy'. A form of response centred upon divine mystery/inscrutability and consolatory ideas of divine co-suffering and recovery, 'atheodicy' will be identified as a significant religious response to suffering prominent within the context of Holocaust theology, especially within the thought of Kalonymous Shapira, Emil Fackenheim, Arthur Cohen and Melissa Raphael where it becomes a major element of their studies. Thirdly, this study will show that the Jewish mystical tradition of the Kabbalah, particularly in its theosophical-theurgic manifestation, has been a significant resource for Holocaust theologians in their efforts to respond meaningfully to the Holocaust - again particularly in the thought of Shapira, Fackenheim, Cohen and Raphael. Fourthly, the thesis will explore the relationship between antitheodicy, atheodicy and Jewish mysticism in the work of these four theologians. It will be argued that the presence of antitheodicy in these four thinkers often results in their adoption of atheodic approaches to the problem of suffering. It will also be argued that the recognition of atheodicy as a response provides one powerful (though certainly not the sole) reason for the presence of Jewish mysticism in Holocaust theology. This, it will be argued, is because the atheodic elements of the responses are often expressed via Kabbalistic concepts which, at least in isolation, provide Jewish symbols which encapsulate and express the atheodic approaches identified in the responses of Shapira, Fackenheim, Cohen and Raphael. Finally, the prospects for 'atheodic theology' will be briefly evaluated by providing a short critical appraisal of this theological mode. The discussion will develop a particular focus on notions of divine mystery and the limits of rational theology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available