Radical Evil and the Scarcity of Hope

Radical Evil and the Scarcity of Hope

Postsecular Meditations
Martin Beck Matuštík
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 04/16/2008
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-21968-8
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No one will deny that we live in a world where evil exists. But how are we to come to grips with human atrocity and its diabolical intensity? Martin Beck Matuštík considers evil to be even more radically evil than previously thought and to have become all too familiar in everyday life. While we can name various moral wrongs and specific cruelties, Matuštík maintains that radical evil understood as a religious phenomenon requires a religious response where the language of hope, forgiveness, redemption, and love can take us beyond unspeakable harm and irreparable violence. Drawing upon the work of Kant, Schelling, Kierkegaard, Levinas, Derrida, and Marion, this work is written as a series of meditations. Matuštík presents a bold new way of dealing with one of humanity's most intractable problems.

Author Bio

Martin Beck Matuštík is Lincoln Professor of Ethics and Religion at Arizona State University. He is author of Jürgen Habermas: Philosophical-Political Profile and Specters of Liberation. He has edited (with Merold Westphal) Kierkegaard in Post/Modernity (IUP, 1995).


“Matuštík considers evil as a religious phenomenon and how responses such as the language of hope, forgiveness, redemption, and love can take us beyond unspeakable harm and irreparable violence. ”

“In a world filled with war, torture, and cruelty, where millions of people die of diseases related to malnutrition or inadequate health care each year, Martin Beck Matuštík's book is an important and innovative inquiry into an age-old problem.”
 — Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun

“This book deserves a large and thoughtful readership. . . . the insights are worth the effort.May 13, 2009 (online)”
 — Robert L. Perkins, Stetson University

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Table of Contents

Part 1. Impossible Hope
1. Job at Auschwitz
2. Redemptive Critical Theory
3. Between Hope and Terror
Part 2. The Negatively Saturated Phenomenon
4. Job Questions Kant
5. Redemption in an Antiredemptory Age
6. Radical Evil as a Saturated Phenomenon
Part 3. The Uncanny
7. The Unforgivable
8. Tragic Beauty
9. The Unspeakable
10. Without a Why
Epilogue: Job Questions the Grand Inquisitor
Works Cited