Title: Christus Victor: An Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of Atonement
Binding: Paper Back
Book Condition: New
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers September 2003
1592443303 / 9781592443307
Seller ID: 92455
'''Today hath Hades sighed, crying, It were better for me that I had not received the Begotten of Mary; for when he approached me, he loosed my power and crushed my gates of brass, arousing the souls which I had possessed, he being God...'' ''Today hath Hades sighed, crying, My power hath vanished, because I received a dead Man as one of the dead, but could not hold him completely. Rather, I lost with him those who were under my reign. From the beginning of time I have held control over the dead. But this One raised all...'' ''Today hath Hades sighed, crying, My power hath been swallowed up; for the Shepherd, crucified, hath raised Adam; and those whom I had possessed I lost. Those whom I had swallowed by my might, I have given up completely; for the Crucified hath emptied the graves, and the might of death hath vanished...'' (Orthodox Vespers for Holy Saturday) The anonymous Byzantine hymnographer who penned these lines might have been approaching poetically what Gustaf Aulen was trying to capture theologically in his history of the atonement, Christus Victor. For it is Aulen's conviction that the ''classic'' (read patristic) idea of the atonement was less a ''theory'' than the jubilant experience of the Church that ''God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself,'' that the heroic Savior had descended to ''the uttermost parts of the earth'' and victoriously ''loosed the bonds of those who were there,'' having trampled down death and the devil. Aulen fills out the classic view citing texts from Irenaeus and the fourth-century Greek Fathers. A slow transformation begins in the Middle Ages, culminating in Anselm's classic ''satisfaction'' theory, which was articulated in clear legal termsv the infinite debt owed to God by sinful man, the infinite satisfaction offered to God by the sacrifice of the God-Man. Aulen sees further developments, including Abelard's theory of Christ as the divine Exemplar, as a further departure from the classic view. He posits that Luther revisited the patristic sense of atonement through his reading of Scripture and especially his reading of Gregory of Nyssa among the Fathers, bringing Latin doctrines of atonement into the ambit of his rejection of the order of merit and justice. Aulen's schematization has attracted criticism for a lack of nuance in describing Latin atonement theology and especially of Anselm, yet in retrospect this book can be seen as a watershed in the theological history of the atonement, a powerful brief for the return to a patristic proclamation of the atonement.