The Nonviolent Atonement

The Nonviolent Atonement

The Nonviolent Atonement

The Nonviolent Atonement

Synopsis

A provocative study that cuts to the very heart of Christian thought, The Nonviolent Atonement challenges the traditional, Anselmian understanding of atonement -- along with the assumption that heavenly justice depends on Christ's passive, innocent submission to violent death at the hands of a cruel God. Instead J. Denny Weaver offers a thoroughly nonviolent paradigm for understanding atonement, grounded in the New Testament and sensitive to the concerns of pacifist, black, feminist, and womanist theology. While many scholars have engaged the subject of violence in atonement theology, Weaver's Nonviolent Atonement is the only book that offers a radically new theory rather than simply refurbishing existing theories. Key features of this revised and updated second edition include new material on Paul and Anselm, expanded discussion on the development of violence in theology, interaction with recent scholarship on atonement, and response to criticisms of Weaver's original work. Praise for the first edition: "The best current single volume on reconstructing the theology of atonement." -- S. Mark Heim in Anglican Theological Review "Weaver provides an important contribution to atonement theories by seriously inserting the contemporary concerns of pacifist, feminist, womanist, and black theologians into the centuries-old christological conversation.... A provocative but faithful proposal benefiting any student of christology." -- Religious Studies Review "A noteworthy contribution to the literature on the atonement. Weaver provides a useful critique of the history of atonement motifs; he does a fine job of placing Anselm's theology in its historical context; he creatively fuses a singular biblical vision from the earthly narrative of the Gospels and the cosmic perspective of the Apocalypse; and he attempts to relate discussions of the atonement to Christian social ethics." -- Trinity Journal "This is a superb succinct survey and analysis of classical and contemporary theories of the atonement, ideal for students and general readers.... A clearly written, passionately expressed introduction to current debates on the atonement.... Excellent resource." -- Reviews in Religion and Theology

Excerpt

Although I did not recognize it at the time, I started writing this book more than twenty-five years ago, when I taught my first college theology course. That course had been a struggle both for myself as a very inexperienced professor and for the students who endured it. Toward the end of the term, a student whose name now escapes me asked just what exactly was going on with the atonement formulas that I had sketched for them. a comparison that I had not previously recognized flashed through my mind, and on an impulse I threw out that new insight as a suggestion about what was going on. Although the question and my answer were both spontaneous, they stuck with me, and I spent the next several years testing whether that spur-of-the-moment answer was indeed true. This book is my attestation to that student that the answer he received in embryonic form those many years ago was indeed correct. I hope that he remembers the question and recognizes this book as the real answer.

While the bo0k builds on much research, it does not develop a thesis that comes from research in the traditional sense. Rather, the book is the result of what has recently been dubbed “thinking out of the box,” being willing to view an ancient and classic question from a new and different standpoint.

I could list a number of “aha” experiences dotted over a quarter century when pieces of the puzzle that is this book fell into place — an article or book read, a conversion with a critic of my developing view, a comment from a supporter suggesting additional evidence, a student’s query that forced me into new territory for an answer, a literary challenge that . . .

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