Medieval Jewish Responses to Suffering & Evil
The philosophers and mystics of the Middle Ages suggested an array of solutions to the problem of suffering.
Crucially, neither the availability of alternatives nor the experience of persecution caused Jews to abandon the ancient formula. Even Gluckel of Hameln, a woman of relative comfort and culture, returns to this piety on several occasions in her memoirs. Writing near the end of the seventeenth century, she clearly believes that sin is punished with suffering, which in turn atones the sin. God’s judgment is just, she says, and to be accepted in modesty.
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