Google full text of our books:


Out of Eden:
Adam and Eve and the Problem of Evil
Paul W. Kahn

Paperback | 2010 | $29.95 | £24.95 | ISBN: 9780691148120
Hardcover | 2006 | $62.50 | £52.95 | ISBN: 9780691126937
240 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4
Add to Shopping Cart

eBook | ISBN: 9781400827442 |
Our eBook editions are available from these online vendors

Reviews | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [HTML] or [PDF] pdf-icon

Google full text of this book:

In Out of Eden, Paul W. Kahn offers a philosophical meditation on the problem of evil. He uses the Genesis story of the Fall as the starting point for a profound articulation of the human condition. Kahn shows us that evil expresses the rage of a subject who knows both that he is an image of an infinite God and that he must die. Kahn's interpretation of Genesis leads him to inquiries into a variety of modern forms of evil, including slavery, torture, and genocide.

Kahn takes issue with Hannah Arendt's theory of the banality of evil, arguing that her view is an instance of the modern world's lost capacity to speak of evil. Psychological, social, and political accounts do not explain evil as much as explain it away. Focusing on the existential roots of evil rather than on the occasions for its appearance, Kahn argues that evil originates in man's flight from death. He urges us to see that the opposite of evil is not good, but love: while evil would master death, love would transcend it.

Offering a unique perspective that combines political and cultural theory, law, and philosophy, Kahn here continues his project of advancing a political theology of modernity.


"A book which begins with the sentence 'Evil makes us Human' must surely compel attention. This is no ordinary account of what is usually meant by the problem of evil. . . . Instead, Paul W. Kahn's aim is to explore the nature of evil itself. . . . A rich and fascinating book full of unusual conjunctions and insights."--John Habgood, Times Literary Supplement

"Kahn makes a powerful case for the reality of good (which he calls 'love') as a form of self-sacrifice, and of its opposite, evil, which constitutes a denial of one's finitude."--Whitley R. P. Kaufman, Philosophy in Review

"Brilliant and essential. . . . [Kahn] establishes an enormously clarifying political theology of modernity, one that investigates the limits of our contemporary imagination."--Igor Webb, Common Review

"In Out of Eden, Paul W. Kahn . . . argues that the human condition--rather than political or social conditions--is the locus of evil. Using the lenses of political and cultural theory, law, and philosophy, Kahn takes a hard look at modern forms of evil, namely slavery, torture, and genocide. Evil, Kahn posits, in an existential problem."--Yale Law Report


"Paul W. Kahn's book is one of the deepest meditations on evil that I have read. It is insightful, rich, and original. Its main merit is the particular existential line of inquiry that it offers--uncovering the root of evil in the human condition itself. It therefore avoids the sort of investigation that is so common concerning evil, which concentrates on the social and political conditions that trigger evil. Kahn weaves this existential inquiry through an interpretation of the Genesis myth of the fall, postulating the source of evil in the human condition of knowledge, shame, and death. It is one of the most compelling modern readings of Genesis that I have encountered."--Moshe Halbertal, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

More Endorsements

Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction: The Study of Evil 1
Chapter 1: A Preliminary Meditation on Oedipus and Adam 16
Chapter 2: Evil and the Image of the Sacred 53
Chapter 3: Love and Evil 106
Chapter 4: Political Evil: Slavery and the Shame of Nature 143
Chapter 5: Political Evil: Killing, Sacrifice, and the Image of God 174
Conclusion: Tragedy, Comedy, and the Banality of Evil 211
Index 223

Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Paul W. Kahn:

Subject Areas:

Shopping Cart options:

  • For ebooks:

Our eBook editions are available
from these online vendors:

  • Amazon Kindle Store
  • Apple iBooks
  • Barnes & Noble Nook Store
  • Google Play eBook Store
  • Kobo eBook Store
  • Many of our ebooks are available through
    library electronic resources including these platforms:

  • Books at JSTOR
  • Ebrary
  • Ebook Library
  • EBSCO Ebooks
  • MyiLibrary
  • Dawsonera (UK)

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia

     Paperback : $29.95 ISBN: 9780691148120

    Add to shopping cart

     Hardcover : $62.50 ISBN: 9780691126937

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

     Hardcover  £52.95 ISBN: 9780691126937

    Add to shopping cart

     Paperback  £24.95 ISBN: 9780691148120

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    Prices subject to change without notice

    File created: 7/11/2017

    Questions and comments to:
    Princeton University Press

    New Book E-mails
    New In Print
    PUP Blog
    Princeton APPS
    Sample Chapters
    Princeton Legacy Library
    Exam/Desk Copy
    Recent Awards
    Princeton Shorts
    Freshman Reading
    PUP Europe
    About Us
    Contact Us
    PUP Home

    Bookmark and Share 
    Send me emails
    about new books in:
    Political Philosophy
    More Choices