The Nonviolent Atonement by J. Denny Weaver

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This challenging work explores the history of the Christian doctrine of atonement, exposing the intrinsically violent dimensions of the traditional, Anselmian satisfaction atonement view and offering instead a new, thoroughly nonviolent paradigm for understanding atonement based on narrative Christus Victor.

The book develops a two-part argument. J. Denny Weaver first develops narrative Christus Victor as a comprehensive, nonviolent atonement motif. The other side of the discussion exposes the assumptions and the accommodation of violence in traditional atonement motifs.

The first chapter lays out narrative Christus Victor as nonviolent atonement that reflects the entire biblical story, though paying particular attention to Revelation, the Gospels, and Paul. This biblical discussion also touches on the Old Testament story, Hebrew sacrifices, and the book of Hebrews. Following chapters place narrative Christus Victor in conversation with defenders of Anselm and with representatives of black, feminist, and womanist theologies. These discussions expose an accumulation of dimensions of violence in the several forms of satisfaction atonement.

A final substantive chapter analyzes the inadequacy of all attempts to defend Anselm against the recent challenges raised by feminist and womanist perspectives. This analysis lays bare the violent dimensions of satisfaction atonement, which can be camouflaged but not removed. In light of this discussion, Weaver argues that the view of satisfaction atonement must be abandoned and replaced with narrative Christus Victor as the only thoroughly biblical and thoroughly nonviolent alternative.

A provocative study that cuts to the very heart of Christian thought, The Nonviolent Atonement will be of interest to scholars, students, and pastors.


About J. Denny Weaver

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Dr. J. Denny Weaver is Professor of Religion and the Harry and Jean Yoder Scholar in Bible and Religion.
Published April 12, 2010 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. 260 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

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Evangelical Christians sing hymns in which blood figures prominently;

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