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Causes precede their effects. The Aristotelian and medieval understanding of teleology, of final causation, does not belong to the categories of the understanding. Nonetheless, teleology does belong to reason. It is an ineluctable idea of reason, a schema for organizing our concepts of nature, which derive from the understanding, at the highest level. When we reflect on the mind’s work of making sense of nature, we discover that we cannot do so without teleological ideas however alien those ideas are to the immediate work of the understanding.

Job on the modern account, however, is a heroic figure: a model of probity that rejects the facile pseudo-answers of the official “orthodoxy” and insists on the truth of his own experience. For modern Jewish interpreters, the Book of Job in a sense redeems the Torah. Were reward and punishment all that Jews had to work with, not only theodicy but Judaism might wither. For the traditional interpreter, the gap between 53 Ibid. Kant is more concerned for sincerity than for authenticity. This distinction has not yet become fully articulated.

Although Kant’s concise treatment of Job is clear and well-formed, his analysis of traditional theodicy leaves much to be desired. Kant sometimes descends to disparagement in lieu of analysis. He seems to assume that, given his immense work of systematic criticism, his readers are already conversant with his views and do not require a detailed interrogation of the alleged failures of all versions of theodicy. The theodicy essay assumes the apparatus of the various Critiques and of the Critique of Judgment, in particular.

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Harvard Theological Review 2009-01 by Harvard Theological Review

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