Problems with Atonement: The Origins of, and Controversy about, the Atonement Doctrine  -     By: Stephen Finlan
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Problems with Atonement: The Origins of, and Controversy about, the Atonement Doctrine

Liturgical Press / 2005 / Paperback

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Product Description

The origins of atonement are found in Paul's writings. Popular Christian theology has understood them to mean that God demanded a bloody victim to pay for human sin. In Problems with Atonement, Stephen Finlan examines the Christian doctrine of atonement and current debates about it. He considers its biblical foundation in Pauline texts, the Old Testament background, and the theological questions under discussion about atonement. He provides ancient historical background and raises questions, such as whether the Incarnation must be understood through the lens of atonement.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 152
Vendor: Liturgical Press
Publication Date: 2005
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
ISBN: 0814652204
ISBN-13: 9780814652206
Availability: Available to ship on or about 10/16/14.

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Publisher's Description

The origins of atonement are found in Paul's writings. Popular Christian theology has understood them to mean that God demanded a bloody victim to pay for human sin. In Problems with Atonement Stephen Finlan examines the Christian doctrine of atonement and current debates about it. He considers its biblical foundation in Pauline texts, the Old Testament background, and the theological questions under discussion about atonement. He provides ancient historical background and raises questions, such as whether the Incarnation must be understood through the lens of atonement.

Chapters are Chapter 1: Sacrifice and Scapegoat," "Chapter 2: Paul's Use of Cultic Imagery," "Chapter 3: Atonement afterPaul," "Chapter 4: Rationalizing the Atonement Doctrine," and "Chapter 5: The Incarnation."

Stephen Finlan, PhD, is an adjunct professor of New Testament at Seton Hall University and Fordham University. He is the author of The Background and Content of Paul's Cultic Atonement Metaphors (Society of Biblical Culture, 2004).

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Author Bio

Stephen Finlan, PhD, is an adjunct professor at Drew University and has taught at Fordham. He is also author of Problems with Atonement and Options on Atonement in Christian Thought (both published by Liturgical Press) as well as The Background and Content of Paul's Cultic Atonement Metaphors (SBL and Brill, 2004).

Editorial Reviews

. . . a book that I would want to read and digest before preaching or teaching on the meaning of God’s salvation.

Ernest Thompson, First Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, North Carolina

. . . this book is essential reading for those wrestling with the problems of atonement theory.
Journal for the Study of the New Testament

. . . does a very good job in sorting through the paradoxes that are present in thinking about atonement. Finlan is good at catching the nuances of metaphor and setting out the different values in the balance of the discussion. He understands the role of ritual action in trying to reach where more discursive forms of thought cannot go.
New Theology Review

. . . it is a book that I would want to read and digest before preaching or teaching on the meaning of God’s Salvation.
Ernest Thompson, First Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, North Carolina

In this challenging and enlightening book, Stephen Finlan suggests that we have misunderstood the nature of God’s salvation by allowing primitive ideas about sacrifice to inform our doctrine of the atonement, and by making atonement the central doctrine of the Christian faith. Finlan insists that the unique and central doctrine of the Christian faith is not the atonement, but rather, the incarnation.
Ernest Thompson, First Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, North Carolina

Finlan's book is well worth reading for a number of reasons. It contains a fantastic summary of Pauline metaphors for atonement. It contains fascinating side comments about questions such as the relationship of ritual to the moral structure of society. Finally it is a stimulating debate partner for those who wish to defend the biblical and traditional doctrine of atonement in some form or another.
Catholic Studies An Online Journal

Problems with Atonement is an ambitious argument against theories of atonement.
Worship

. . . its discussion of biblical theology contains ideas that could bear much fruit.
Worship

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  1. Jeff
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: male
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    I thought it was a Christian book! its not!
    July 14, 2012
    Jeff
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 1
    This book openly mocks the idea that God does not forgive sin "without the shedding of blood". It is very, very well written in terms of scholarship but it denies that the sacrificial system was actually of divine origin, and it basically denies the divine authority of Scripture except for certain parts of the Gospels that suit the author. This false gospel message saves no one and there are many hurting dying people out there who need the real truth, not this false gospel message. It is not just a "different perspective" and I am not being divisive over a small issue- the author says the cross is primitive mythology which is no longer convincing! (p.120), It calls the forgiveness of sins at the cross "magic" (119 and all throughout the book). It denies the virgin birth (119), It says man's problem is not sin, but "immaturity" (123). and concludes we should be free by "outgrowing the doctrines of an arbitrary and punishing God" (124)
  2. David Glass
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    August 20, 2008
    David Glass
    Distilled to its essence, the subject of the atonement is thoroughly researched and covered in this magnificent theological and historical report on the development of this crucial and critical Christian doctrine. Readers are provided with abundant information and background in the light of which to achieve a far better-informed opinion and appreciation of the true facts, meanings, and values implicit, explicit, and implied in the long-lived ascendancy of the atonement idea. Recommended reading for anyone contemplating the nature of God, man, Jesus and their relationships in the annals of history and in the transcendant realms of the heretofore and the hereafter. Carries its replete scholarship with eminent readability and attention-holding interest-value. Highly recommended!
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