Enlightenment optimism concerning man's ‘natural goodness’ is out of fashion. The many instances of monstrous evil on a mass scale (Nazi extermination camps; Gulags; Cambodia; Kosovo, etc.), the widespread reporting of the activities of sadistic torturers and killers, the great increase in violent crime and drug addiction in the most affluent and welleducated societies, expose to ridicule Condorcet's prediction that 'the time will come when the sun will shine only on free men who know no other master but their reason … the human race, emancipated from its shackles [will] advance with a firm and sure step along the path of truth, virtue, and happiness. Yet there have been few recent philosophical or theological attempts to consider afresh the nature of human evil, and most of them still tend, if mutedly, to cling to the notion of mankind's essential moral goodness. Thus the hesitant conclusion of Ricoeur's reconsideration of human moral responsibility is that ‘however radical evil may be, it cannot be as primordial as goodness’, and that we should think of an ‘existential superimposition of radical evil on primordial good’.2 In 1963, Hannah Arendt declared that ‘evil is never “radical”, that it is only extreme, and that it possesses neither depth nor any demonic dimension … Only the good has depth and can be radical.‘ Instead she wrote of the ‘banality of evil’, generalising from the case of Eichmann.