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Eleonore Stump

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198813866

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198813866.001.0001

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The Anselmian Interpretation of the Atonement

The Anselmian Interpretation of the Atonement

Love, Goodness, Justice, and Forgiveness

(p.71) 3 The Anselmian Interpretation of the Atonement

Eleonore Stump

Oxford University Press

The Anselmian kind of interpretation of the doctrine of the atonement supposes that God is required to receive satisfaction or penalty to make up for human wrongdoing as a condition for forgiving sinful human beings and accepting reconciliation with them. On the Anselmian kind of interpretation, God forgives human beings and accepts reconciliation with them—but only because Christ makes amends to God for human sin. As some philosophers of law suppose that it can be morally impermissible for a victim to forgive someone who has wronged her without the wrongdoer’s having made amends to her, so the Anselmian kind of interpretation supposes that it is incompatible with God’s nature to forgive human beings unless amends have been made to God for human wrongdoing. This chapter argues that the Anselmian kind of interpretation of the doctrine of the atonement, in all its varieties, is irremediably flawed and cannot be salvaged.

Keywords:   love, justice, goodness, forgiveness, Anselm, penal substitution, anger, satisfaction, retribution, reconciliation

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