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REVISED God On Trial Theodicy in the Books of


									REVISED 4/05 RST190T: God On Trial: Theodicy in the Books of Job and Ecclesiastes Instructor: Daniel L. Van Dyke Summer 2007 Weekday Daytime Phone No.: 323-256-0011 One unit Weekend and Evening Phone No.: 626-445-1275 Cellphone No.: 323-216-7893 Address: 6749 Golden West Ave Arcadia, CA 91007 E-mail: Office Hours: by appointment. The purpose of this course is to explore the question of evil in the world given a belief in a loving and merciful God through the two key Old Testament Wisdom texts that address that problem. Toward this end we will read, discuss and critique the Books of Job and Ecclesiastes (Qoholeth). We will also look at a range of other theological solutions, both ancient and modern, to the problem of Theodicy (Justification of God).

By the end of our weekend together, you should: 1. be familiar with the argument of Theodicy presented in the Old Testament Wisdom literature, particularly in the Books of Job and Ecclesiastes. 2. have a working knowledge of other theological systems that have been used to address the problem of Theodicy for Christians and Jews. 3. be conversant in the basic formulation of the theological branch of Theodicy. 4. understand how the problem of evil in the world has affected human religious thought.

Required Texts: a Bible (the New American translation is the one I prefer).

Pre-class Assignment: Please read the assigned text, the Book of Job and the Book of Ecclesiastes (Qoholeth) prior to the class weekend. Tentative Schedule: Saturday, 22 July: Morning: Introduction to Theodicy Wisdom in the Old Testament Ecclesiastes and the futility of life Afternoon: Job: dramatic presentation (assigned in class) The biblical notion of evil Undeserved suffering. Sunday, 23 July: Morning: Ancient Christian and Jewish attempts at Theodicy Afternoon: Modern theological systems that address Theodicy

Paper assigned.

1. Attendance: As this is a one unit course, you may not miss any class time and expect a passing grade. 2. Exam: None. 3. Writing Assignment: There will be a 5-7 page written assignment that will be due within a week or two after our class weekend. This is not a researched essay. Grading Policy: Your final grade will be based on the following criteria: Class participation and discussion: 33 1/3 percent. Demonstration of familiarity with the assigned readings: 33 1/3 percent. Written assignment: 33 1/3 percent. Academic Integrity and Plagiarism: Please see MSMC Catalogue pages 40-41. Learning Disabilities: Anyone with a disability that puts her or him at a disadvantage in an academic setting should contact the Learning Center and speak to me about accommodations that might be required. I will take whatever steps are necessary or recommended by the Learning Center to assist you if you need special help. Academic Freedom: You – and I, for that matter – have the right to freely express our opinions. Whether you agree or disagree with what I think or say will never be used as a basis for a grade in my class. Any opinions you might offer that may differ from my own views will not be subject to adverse grades. You will be graded on your ability to articulate orally and in writing what you think in a logical way and your understanding of key concepts and current theological scholarship to the extent that these are presented in class reading assignments and/or lectures. Late Assignment: If I receive your assignment after the due date it will be credited with a reduced grade than otherwise would be appropriate depending upon the amount of time overdue, mitigating and extenuating circumstances and whether or not you have discussed these with me in a timely manner. In any event, I would think that an assignment received more than a week after the due date will not count for very much, if anything.

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