Greek Tragedy and the Bible: Responding to Evil and Injustice [Full]
Peter Paik, Associate Professor
- Course: COMPLIT 192, SEM 001
- Class Number: 27281
- Credits: 3 HU
- Time: TR 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM
- Place: CRT 209
Greek tragedy and the Biblical theodicy portray two contrary approaches for addressing the problem of evil and the reality of injustice. Theodicy arises from the view that suffering can be justified and evil will be overcome, typically by appealing to another, higher order of reality, such as the Kingdom of Heaven or the Platonic idea of truth. Tragedy, by contrast, at the very least questions whether suffering can be redeemed by looking beyond the world, causing the viewers to wonder whether justice might be an illusion that intended to conceal harsh and bitter realities. In this course, we will examine the conflict and interplay between tragedy and theodicy, looking at their sources in Greek drama and in the Bible as well as casting a glance at how they have shaped modern accounts of suffering and redemption. We will read the dramas of Sophocles and Euripides, the dialogues of Plato, the Books of Genesis, Samuel, Job, and the Gospels from the Bible, and view films that examine these questions in contemporary settings such as Oldboy (South Korea, 2003) and The Children of Men (US/UK, 2006).
About the Instructor:
Peter Paik was born in Seoul, South Korea, and was raised in California. He received his A.B. from Brown University and his Ph.D. from Cornell University, both in Comparative Literature. He has been teaching at UWM since 2000. His book, From Utopia to Apocalypse: Science Fiction and the Politics of Catastrophe, came out in 2010 from the University of Minnesota Press. His hobbies include taekwondo, hiking, and bicycling along Lake Michigan.