JUDAIC 335 - History and Religion of Second Temple Judaism
Fall 2021, Section 001 - Theodicy and the Problem of Evil
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Judaic Studies (JUDAIC)
Department: LSA Judaic Studies
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be elected three times for credit.
Primary Instructor:


Evil. Why does it exist? How can a good God allow bad things to happen to good people? This is the question of theodicy, a problem that has plagued philosophers, theologians, and thinkers of all sorts for thousands of years. It is a question which has spurred more religious and spiritual innovation than perhaps any other. The answers developed to deal with such a profound problem are tied to the development of, for example, monotheism, messianism, the devil, heaven and hell, and many others. In this course, we will explore a fascinating and dynamic period of Jewish history: the Persian, Hellenistic, and early Roman eras, the time from which Judaism and Christianity as we know them today will emerge. We will explore the history of the period along with its extremely diverse body of literature, many texts of which fall outside standard religious canons but which were indeed canonical to those who read and used them, texts like the Dead Sea Scrolls. In this review, we will pay particular attention to the question of theodicy and the problem of evil and how it impacted nearly every major ideological and practical development we find from this period. From this class, we will discover just how profound an effect the question of evil had not only during the Second Temple period but on culture and civilization to this very day.

Course Requirements:

The course grade will be based upon weekly assignments, class participation, two exams, and a final paper.

Intended Audience:

The course is open to all those interested in ancient history and religion, the development of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and/or big questions about the nature of good and evil, the devil, monotheism, and more.

Class Format:

Two 90-minute meetings weekly consisting of lectures and seminar-style discussions


JUDAIC 335 - History and Religion of Second Temple Judaism
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person

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