[P6295] Making God Angry

Created by Reyhan Durmaz
Thursday, 12/02/21 11:30 am


Monotheistic religions face a common theological challenge: if the one God is all-powerful, all-good, and all-knowing, how can evil, misfortune, and calamity be explained? Thinkers in the major monotheistic religions--Islam, Christianity, and Judaism--have answered this question in common ways, positing (or at least debating) the existence of human free will or independent "evil" powers, such as the devil. But sometimes believers are confronted with events so calamitous that even those answers seem insufficient. This panel will explore the problem that confronts Monotheistic traditions in the face of evil, discussing a variety of approaches undertaken by theologians, historians, and hagiographers. "Fear of God and Confidence in Deed: Narrating Saint Antony to a Muslim audience" discusses the belletristic presentation of Saint Antony of Egypt in the Wajal of Ibn Abi al-Dunya, drawing conclusions about the semiotic utility of Christian saints as sources of universal piety and wisdom to a Muslim audience and, more broadly, the transmission of hagiographical knowledge between Christianity and Islam in the Middle Ages. "We Have Nobody to Blame But Ourselves: Narratives of communal self-blame in the face of calamity" compares the Babylonian Talmud's accounts of the destruction of the Second Temple with Arabic historical chronicles treating the Crusader conquest of Sicily and the Mongol invasion, emphasizing the tendency to lay the blame for such events upon the religious or social failings of the victimized community, rather than upon the agency of the destroyers. "Hand of God or turn of fate? Christian and Zoroastrian responses to the Arab-Islamic conquests" examines the variety of explanations among the Christian communities of Byzantium and the Zoroastrian Persians of Iran, emphasizing the characterization of the new era of Muslim dominance and reflecting upon how these responses presaged the type and extent of communal adaptation to the new religio-political order. "The Two Old Soothsayers in the Islamic Historiographical Tradition" offers a reverse perspective by exploring how the pre-Islamic Arabian soothsayers, Satih and Shiqq, predicted God's favor--rather than his anger--in their prediction of the rise of Islam, focusing on how they connect different epochs and traditions in Islamic historiography and play an important role in the rediscovery of Jahili culture during the early Abbasid period.


Hist; Hist




Aaron Hagler

(Troy University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Scott Savran

(Thomas Jefferson HSST)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Reyhan Durmaz

(University of Pennsylvania)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;