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Borrowed from French théodicée, from Ancient Greek θεός (theós, god) + δίκη (díkē, justice), coined by German mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in his 1710 work Essais de Théodicée sur la bonté de Dieu, la liberté de l'homme et l'origine du mal (Essays of Theodicy on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil), commonly known as Théodicée.



theodicy (plural theodicies)

  1. (theology, philosophy) A justification of a deity or of particular attributes of a deity; specifically, a justification of the existence of evil and suffering in the world; a work or discourse justifying the ways of God.
    • 2000 [Kluwer Academic], Charles Seymour, A Theodicy of Hell, 2010, Springer, Softcover reprint, page 195,
      In general, my theodicy of hell is more congenial to those denominations with less rigidly defined doctrinal systems.
      Does this mean I have allowed theodicy to encroach on theology, contrary to my avowed purpose?
    • 2002, Kevin J. Christiano, William H. Swatos, Peter Kivisto, Sociology of Religion: Contemporary Developments[1], Rowman & Littlefield (Altamira Press), page 129:
      Distilling the characteristic features of the theodicies of the world religions, Weber identified five varieties or forms that the answers to this problem take, which in his view speaks to the varieties of forms that religion itself takes: a messiah who initiates the end of the world as we know it, the transmigration of souls, a universal day of judgment, predestination, or dual divinities of good and evil.
    • 2003, Roy Porter, Flesh in the Age of Reason, Penguin 2004, page 388:
      God was now nothing more than a distant cause of causes; what mattered was matter, and man acting in nature. The theodicy, the master-narrative, had become secularized.

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