Item description for Suffering by Dorothee Soelle, Dorothee Solle & Everett R. Kalin...
Overview A valuable contribution to the literature of theology and ethics, combining in a fascinating way biblical, theological, pastoral, and socioethic themes...The study is of immense value because it identifies the modern idolatry that views suffering as absurd and devoid of meaning...The book is marvelous exercise in cultural self-analysis that is prelimanary to any meaningful exorcism and redirection.
Publishers Description "A valuable contribution to the literature of theology and ethics, combining in a fascinating way biblical, theological, pastoral, and socioethical themes. . . The study is of immense value because it identifies the modern idolatry that views suffering as absurd and devoid of meaning. . . The book is a marvelous exercise in cultural self-analysis that is preliminary to any meaningful exorcism and redirection." --Kenneth Vaux Theology Today "Passionate, imaginative, learned, literary, pithy, and at every point searching, Suffering is a notable achievement, not least because it pricks the heart and conscience, making the reader share in the deep experience of suffering that lies behind its writing." --James A. Carpenter Anglican Theological Review
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Studio: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.07" Width: 6.02" Height: 0.41" Weight: 0.7 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 1975
Publisher Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN 0800618130 ISBN13 9780800618131
Availability 0 units.
More About Dorothee Soelle, Dorothee Solle & Everett R. Kalin
Dorothee Soelle was for many years Professor of Theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Her works include "The Strength of the Weak" and "On Earth as in Heaven".
Dorothee Soelle lived in Hamburg. Dorothee Soelle was born in 1929 and died in 2003.
Reviews - What do customers think about Suffering?
Finding and making meaning Aug 8, 2005
I have used Dorothee Soelle's text, 'Thinking About God', as a text in the introduction to theology class at my seminary; in this volume, 'Suffering', Soelle explores in more depth and detail a concept that is central to the biblical witness, but which is often misunderstood and overlooked in our modern society. Written against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, a time of great suffering that was vividly portrayed in homes around the world (and not too dissimilar to today's world, as history seems to be repeating itself with earnest predictability), Soelle sought answers to timeless questions.
In her introduction, Soelle highlights two key questions. These arise out of the idea of suffering as being inherent in personal experience as well as the biblical texts - one need only look at the title of a book such as 'Lamentations' to know that there is suffering behind the words; similarly, many psalms dealing with issues of pain, anguish and suffering. Soelle's key questions are these: 'What are the causes of suffering, and how can these conditions be eliminated?' and 'What is the meaning of suffering and under what conditions can it make us more human?'
Soelle looks at concrete causes of suffering - both in physical and social situations. Some suffering is physical, some is psychological, and some is spiritual. Soelle quotes Simone Weil's idea of affliction, which deals with physical, psychological and social suffering. 'Affliction is ridiculous,' Weil states, and goes further to state that despising the afflicted seems to be a natural impulse. Thus it becomes all the more important for us to be in solidarity with those suffering. However, 'gratuitous solidarity with the afflicted changes nothing,' Soelle states, arguing for a much more empathetic response.
Soelle looks at three phases of suffering - the first in isolation, where one is mute ('like a lamb who is mute before its shearers'); the second is lamenting (expressive and communicative); the third is changing and active behaviour. Thomas Muntzer worked past a church that seemed to have a mute and isolated God to one who was active in hearing the laments of the people - 'Thomas Muntzer will pray to no mute God, but only to a God who speaks.'
One key element for suffering is this - in our own experience, 'suffering makes one more sensitive to the pain in the world.' However, this is not where the meaning necessarily comes from in the midst of experience. As Soelle states, 'we can remain the people we were before or we can change.' Again, drawing on Muntzer, Soelle sees suffering more than believing as a way to God. One must bear the cross, and taste the bitterness. Soelle sees both Judaism and Christianity having a common thread in being religions familiar with slavery - indeed, the image of the cross is an image of suffering, but not just of suffering, but of slave suffering. God understands our suffering and is in active solidarity and communication with us in the midst of this condition.
Soelle is a tough read, not just from the theological concepts, but also from the emotions she elicits. She draws powerfully from the experiences of Chilean workers who revolted in the early part of the century, from letters written by concentration camp victims, and from other pieces that draw suffering in context of modern day, inescapable examples.
'God has no other hands but own own,' Soelle writes, urging her readers to engage the world in a liberating praxis, one in which suffering can be reduced and overcome, not with platitudes or tenuous meanings, but with direct love and freedom from God.