2013 Lecture Series

In 2013, the BLPR brought guest speaker, Dr. Eleonore Stump, the Robert J. Henle Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University, for our lecture series. In 2012, Dr. Stump was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among other honors, she is past president of the Society of Christian Philosophers, the American Catholic Philosophical Association, and the American Philosophical Association, Central Division. She delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Aberdeen in 2003, the Wilde Lectures at Oxford University in 2006, the Thomas Merton Lecture at Columbia University in 2008, and the Stewart Lectures at Princeton University in 2009. She is the author of numerous articles and books, including Wandering in Darkness: Narrative and the Problem of Suffering (Oxford 2010).

The Story of Mary of Bethany: Heartbrokenness and the Problem of Suffering

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Mary of Bethany is an exemplar of a person who suffers heartbreak, if the New Testament story of the raising of Lazarus, in which she and her sister Martha figure largely, is understood in a certain way. This lecture focuses on the problem of suffering in connection with the desires of the heart and heartbreak. It shows the way in which, in the narrative, suffering is redeemed in second-personal relationship.

The Problem of Suffering: A Thomistic Approach to Theodicy

This lecture presents Aquinas’s approach to the problem of suffering. For a person whose suffering is entirely involuntary, suffering is defeated in virtue of its contributing to warding off a greater harm for her. For a person whose suffering is involuntary only in a certain respect, suffering is defeated in virtue of its contributing to providing a greater good for her. The lecture concludes with an argument that Aquinas’s theodicy is incomplete as it stands and in need of further development.

Faith and the Problem of Suffering

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In the history of Christianity, one traditional recommendation to believers who suffer is that they respond to their suffering with faith. In this lecture, Dr. Stump examines this recommendation through the biblical story of the binding of Isaac.

Page Updated 11.22.2017