Grappling with the marginalization of the marginal in Western thinking, this paper sets up a dialogue between Emmanuel Levinas’s philosophy and Johann Baptist Metz’s political theology in order to learn from their thoughts on the suffering of victims. For both Levinas and Metz, the idea of theodicy as an explanation of suffering is linked to the ontological conception of time and history, and therefore useless and unjustifiable by nature. The essential question of this research is how to give meaning to the concrete suffering of humanity in order to redeem history from the concept of an evolutionary progress which limits the possibility of hearing the cries of the victims of history. This article will show how Levinas’s and Metz´s rejection of traditional theodicy is closely related to the concepts of memory and history and, therefore, the paper will demonstrate how traditional theodicy becomes for both thinkers an ethical theodicy. Consequently, the ethical account of theodicy replaces the attempt to negotiate the goodness and power of God with the pain of human beings. From this perspective, ethics is shaped by a response to the cry of victims which summons the subject to understand freedom as limited and subordinated to ethical responsibility. In responding to suffering, philosophy and theology can meet beyond idealism and dogmatism.
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