Anselm on evil and sin : an analysis and constructive retrieval
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In this thesis, I provide the first systematic analysis of Anselm’s doctrines of evil and sin; I also demonstrate that Anselm’s thinking in this regard has import for contemporary theology. To provide such an analysis and demonstration, I approach the thesis in two parts: Part I comprises the clarification and analysis of Anselm’s system, and Part II comprises the import of his thinking in two regards. In Part I, my main aim is to clarify and analyze Anselm's doctrine of goodness, evil, and sin. To begin, I outline the tradition of being and goodness in which Anselm situates himself and which is the traditional framework for the privation theory of evil (chapter 1). Next, I detail Anselm's account of goodness and the first type of evil, the evil of injustice. Because the evil of injustice is the evil that is in the will, I also address the question of the Fall (chapter 2). I then detail Anselm’s second type of evil, the evil of misfortune. Anselm claims that the evil of misfortune is sometimes privative and sometimes not. Because Anselm claims that some evils are positive, I address how he consistently maintains the traditional theological concerns that motivate the privation theory of evil: that God is the creator of everything, and that everything is good in terms of its existence (chapter 3). Finally, I detail Anselm’s doctrine of original sin. I show how his account of original sin is informed by his thought on the evil of injustice and his account of kind-relative goodness (chapter 4). In Part II, I turn my attention from explication to retrieval, the main aim of which is to demonstrate that Anselm's thinking provides insight to contemporary theological discussion. To do so, I select two areas of application: the privation theory of evil and the doctrine of original sin. I first demonstrate that it is possible to maintain that evil exists while retaining the traditional motivations for the privation theory of evil. I provide an alternative to the privation theory of evil modeled after Anselm’s evil of misfortune (chapter 5). Next, I demonstrate that Anselm’s teleological construal of original sin can alleviate concerns with what are called ‘corruption-only’ accounts of original sin (chapter 6). I thus conclude the analysis and retrieval of Anselm’s thought.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internationalhttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/
Embargo Date: 2028-07-17
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Restricted until 17th July 2028
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