Professor of Philosophy, Saint Louis University, Missouri
“Suffering and Flourishing”
Even when we praise a person who suffers for not sinking under his suffering, we suppose that the sufferer is to be ranked more among life’s losers than among life’s winners. From the Patristic period onward, however, the Christian tradition has held that those who endure serious suffering are not the pitiable losers of life or even the heroic overcomers of tragedy but rather are those specially loved by God. Clearly, there is something right about the contemporary unreflective rejection of suffering as bad. Someone who valued suffering as an intrinsic good would be perverse at best and mentally disturbed or evil at worst. But I want to look closely at the relevant Christian doctrines to see what can be said to explain and defend the attitude towards suffering found in the Christian tradition that sees suffering as part of flourishing.
Eleonore Stump is the Robert J. Henle Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University. She is also Honorary Professor at Wuhan University and at the Logos Institute, St. Andrews, and a Professorial Fellow at Australian Catholic University. She has published extensively in philosophy of religion, contemporary metaphysics, and medieval philosophy. Her books include Aquinas (2003), Wandering in Darkness: Narrative and the Problem of Suffering (2010), and Atonement (2018). She has given the Gifford lectures at Aberdeen (2003), the Wilde lectures at Oxford (2006), the Stewart lectures at Princeton (2009),and the Stanton lectures at Cambridge (2018). She is past president of the Society of Christian Philosophers, the American Catholic Philosophical Association, and the American Philosophical Association, Central Division, and she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
About the Series
For centuries, philosophers and theologians debated the question of why God, who is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good, is hidden, absent or silent in the face of human suffering. In our lecture series, we are inviting prominent scholars from a range of disciplines and from different parts of the world to address and help us understand an array of topics pertaining to the problem of Divine Hiddenness.