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Image for Evil

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Evil

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 03 May 2001

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the concept of evil. When Nietzsche killed off God he had it in for evil as well: In Beyond Good and Evil, he constructed an argument against what he called the “herd morality” of Christianity, and he complained "everything that elevates an individual above the herd and intimidates the neighbour is henceforth called evil." Nietzsche claimed that it was a dangerous idea that distorted human nature, ‘evil’ was invented by the church and was a completely alien concept to the noble philosophers of the ancient world.

Was he right, did Christianity really invent the idea of evil? And has the idea meant anything more than excessively bad?

With Jones Erwin, Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Limerick; Stephen Mulhall, Tutor in Philosophy at New College, Oxford University; Margaret Atkins, Lecturer in Theology at Trinity and All Saints College, University of Leeds.

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