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This book is the first full-scale assessment in many decades of one of the most fundamental of theological doctrines. Theologian Tatha Wiley methodically traces the emergence and initial function of the doctrine of Original Sin, then follows its rich development through the patristic and medieval centuries, and pays particular attention to modern ideas that have made this influential doctrine so problematic for contemporary believers. She not only highlights how and why recent theologians from Niebuhr to Ruether have sought to retrieve and rethink the doctrine, but also addresses an important question: "What does the doctrine of Original Sin have to say to us today.?"