Beginning with the problem of evil in the West, Professor A. L. Herman traces the history of one of the most fascinating of all perennial philosophical puzzles. The author identifies some twenty-one historical solutions to the problem, which are then reduced to eight quite distinct solutions. Prof. Herman then turns, in the second part of the book, to the history of the problem of evil in Indian thought. Beginning with an examination of the Indian doctrine of samsara or rebirth, he examines its possible origins in the Vedas, its status in the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, in several classical darsanas including Buddhism, Jainism, Vedanta, Samkhya and Nyaya.
The author then joins the analysis of the problem of evil(taken from the first part of the book) to the Indian doctrine of rebirth (taken from the second part) in order to attempt a solution to the problem. By careful analysis, the author shows that the doctrine of rebirth can satisfy the conditions already set forth as adequate for a solution to the problem of evil. That is further examined in the commentaries of Samkara and Ramanuja on several key passages in the Brahma Sutras. Professor Herman concludes with a critique of samsara as a solution to the problem of evil.
About the Author:
A.L. Herman, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, U.S.A. He has received several honors and awards including a Ford Foundation Overseas Training Fellowship, a Danforth Teacher Fellowship and a New York State Faculty Scholarship in Oriental Studies. He is the author 'some seventy-five articles and reviews' and among his published books are Indian Folk Tales, translated from the Sanskrit; The Bhagavad Gita, A Translation and Critical Commentary; Problems in Philosophy, West and East(with Russell T. Blackwood); three cassette tapes; The History and Practice of Indian Yoga (1976); An Introduction to Indian Thought (1976); An Introduction to Buddhist Thought (1984); The Ways of Philosophy, Searching for a Worthwhile Life (1990); A Brief Introduction to Hinduism (1991); andCommunity Violence and Peace, Aldo Leopold, Mohandas K. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gautama the Buddha in the 21st Century (1999).
Excerpts From Reviews:
"A clearly stated, closely argued thesis concerning the traditional problem of evil and its resolution.
The work is well documented. Recommended for undergraduate courses in philosophy of religions and graduate courses in comparative Philosophy. " - Choice, Nov. 1977
"Arthur Herman's work is always philosophically stimulating, sometimes provocative, but never dull. The Problem of Evil and Indian Thought is of considerable philosophical interest." - FRANK J. HOFFMAN, The University of Montevallo, Alabama, U. S.A.
"As persuasive as it is audacious, Herman's argument is that the Indian doctrine of rebirth successfully meets or circumvents that most intractable of all theistic problems: Theodicy. We are all indebted to Motilal Banarsidass for re-issuing this important work." - RUSSELL T. BLACKWOOD & JOHN S. KENNEDY, Professor of Philosophy, Hamilton College, New York, U.S.A.
gets his facts from the unimpeachable 'experiencer' Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi, as well as from Nisargadatta Maharaj who lived the advaitic life till 1981." - Indian Review of Book, Vol. 3, No. 8, May-June 15, 1994.
PART III - REBIRTH AND THE PROBLEM OF EVIL
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