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The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 17, Issue 3, Autumn 2017

Jane Dominic Laurel
Pages 437-459

Suffering and the Narrative of Redemption

Central to the message of Christianity is the doctrine of suffering as redemptive; therefore, this doctrine must continue to occupy a central place in the discourse about human suffering. Narrative—like suffering itself—has a unique epistemic value and the power to exert a humanizing influence in this discourse. This presentation, though neither strictly systematic nor exhaustive, illustrates narrative’s illuminative capacity in relation to the concepts and propositions that have been part of the discussion of redemptive suffering. Beginning with the present context, it provides justification for the use of narrative, discusses narrative’s place in the Catholic tradition, and then offers three narrative portraits accompanied by brief reflections on the various propositions that each narrative elucidates.