• Edward C. HalperinEmail author


The diagnosis and treatment of childhood central nervous system tumors raises profound ethical and theological questions including the problem of evil, the physician’s religious license to heal, and the “slippery slope” problem of informed consent. This chapter explores these three questions.


Informed consent Physician’s religious license to heal Problem of evil 



Some of the material in this chapter has been previously published by the author, in a different form, in “The Problem of Evil and Childhood Cancer” and “Common Responses to the Problem of Evil” in Halperin EC, Chapter 1, “The Cancer Problem in Children”, in Constine LS, Tarbell NJ, Halperin EC (editors). Pediatric Radiation Oncology, Sixth Edition. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer, 2016, and is used in this chapter with the gracious permission of WoltersKluwer of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


  1. Alexander T (1997) Evil. In: Werblowsky RJZ, Wigoder G (eds) The encyclopedia of the Jewish religion. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Banerjee K, Bloom P. Does everything happen for a reason? NY Times. 2014 Oct 19.Google Scholar
  3. Darwin F (1919) The life and letters of Charles Darwin. 2 volumes, vol II. D. Appleton, New York, pp 105–106Google Scholar
  4. Dray P (2005) Stealing God’s thunder: Benjamin Franklin’s lightening rod and the invention of America. Random House, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Eisen R (2004) The book of Job in medieval Jewish philosophy. Oxford University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Epicuraenism (1994) Encyclopaedia Britannica Micropaedia, vol 4, 15th edn. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago, p 522Google Scholar
  7. Frankl V (1992) Man’s search for meaning. Buccaneer Books, Cutchogue, NY, p 186Google Scholar
  8. Hertz JH (1996) Reward and punishment in Judaism. In: Hertz JH (ed) The pentateuch and haftorahs, 2nd edn. Soncino Press, London, pp 924–925Google Scholar
  9. Jakobovits IJ (1959) Jewish medical ethics. Bloch Publishing Company, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Kekes J (1990) Facing evil. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  11. Kennedy, JF. Inaugural address, Friday, January 20, 1961. Inaugural addresses of the presidents of the United States: From George Washington, 1789, to Barack Obama, 2013. New York: Casino Classics; 2013.Google Scholar
  12. Kushner K (1978) When bad things happen to good people. Random House, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. Maimonides (1963) The guide of the perplexed. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  14. Mark JL (ed) (2001) The problem of evil: a reader. Blackwell, Malden, pp xix–xxiGoogle Scholar
  15. Nuland S. My son, the doctor: the saga of Jews and medicine. The New Republic. 2005 Sept 5.Google Scholar
  16. Osler W (1921) The evolution of modern medicine. Yale University Press, New Haven, pp 84–85Google Scholar
  17. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov [Nachman Breslover] (1995) Likutey moharan tinyana [Collected teachings of our teacher, Rabbi Nachman]. Breslov Research Institute, JerusalemGoogle Scholar
  18. Sacks J (1993) Crisis and covenant: Jewish thought after the holocaust. Manchester University Press, ManchesterGoogle Scholar
  19. Sacks J (2011) The great partnership: science, religion, and the search for meaning. Schocken Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Schwartz Y, Goldstein Y (1990) Shoah: a Jewish perspective on tragedy in the context of the holocaust. Mesorah Publications, BrooklynGoogle Scholar
  21. Sokol M (1999) Is there a “halakhic” response to the problem of evil? Harv Theol Rev 92:311–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Steinsaltz A (1976) The essential Talmud. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Szlakmann C (1990) Judaism for beginners. Writers and Readers Publishing, Inc., New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. Tooley M (2005) The problem of evil. In: Borchert DM (ed) The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Macmillan Preference, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New York Medical CollegeValhallaUSA

Personalised recommendations