WOS 502 Feminist Perspectives on Suffering and Divine Compassion

Faculty: Susan Fowler, Ph.D., Dorothy Day Professor of Spirituality (Profile)


Do we have a moral obligation to resist suffering? If so, what grounds it? Suggesting that “tragic suffering cannot be atoned for; it must be defied,” feminist theologian Wendy Farley offers compassion as the moral response which resists (it), and proposes a new paradigm that challenges classic Christian theodicy (justifications of God’s goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil): namely, that suffering rather than sin is the locus of redemption and resistance, and compassion rather than punishment is the governing paradigm of God’s relationship to the world. Students in this course will explore Farley’s vision of evil and radical suffering, assess her proposal of a theology of resistance and redemption in light of traditional biblical and theological meanings, and develop their own position on the issue in their final paper.

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