Jill Graper Hernandez: Early modern women and the problem of evil: atrocity and theodicy
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Jill Graper Hernandez’s book Early Modern Women and the Problem of Evil: Atrocity and Theodicy is an attempt to put in conversation the writings of Mary Hays, Catherine Macaulay, Mary Astell, Margaret Cavendish, and Mary Wollstonecraft with contemporary philosophical approaches to the problem of evil. The book is heavily influenced by Claudia Card’s atrocity paradigm, which holds that some cases of suffering are “culpable, preventable, create intolerable harm, and threaten the great good of someone’s life.” (2) More often than not, these evils are also institutional, rather than individual cases of suffering. For example, the atrocity paradigm is concerned with suffering like “racial cleansing, rape, genocide, the bombing of children, and hate crimes.” (2)
The very short book is divided into five chapters. The first chapter argues that traditional responses to the problem of evil (most notably Leibniz’s) fail because they treat evil too abstractly such that those writing cannot...