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10 Books on the Resurrection and Atonement

For Christians, everything hinges on the resurrection. But without Jesus’ death to pay for our sins (atonement), there would be no resurrection.

Here are 10 recommendations to learn more about these two most important events in history, the resurrection and atonement, brought to you by Logos product specialist Ben Amundgaard.

Books about atonement

Christus Victor: An Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of Atonement, by Gustaf Aulén
In Christus Victor, Gustaf Aulén explores the “classic” concept of the doctrine of the atonement in which Christ overcomes the hostile powers that hold humanity in subjection, while at the same time God in Christ reconciles the world to himself. Because of its predominance in the New Testament, in patristic writings, and in Luther’s theology, Aulén holds this may be the distinctively Christian idea of the atonement.

Violence, Hospitality, and the Cross: Reappropriating the Atonement Tradition, by Hans Boersma
In Violence, Hospitality, and the Cross, Hans Boersma takes seriously the critics of traditional atonement theology. He acknowledges divine violence is unavoidable but responds with an alternative account of violence that re-envisions the atonement as divine hospitality.

Studies in Dogmatics: The Work of Christ (Eerdmans, 1965), by G.C. Berkouwer
More than a work on the atonement, Perkouwer examines tough theological questions like: Would there have been an incarnation without sin? What is the relation of Christ’s humiliation and exaltation? Why does the Church confess that Christ suffered “under Pontius Pilate”? He concludes by discussing the four aspects of the work of Christ: reconciliation, sacrifice, obedience, and victory.

Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week; From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection (Ignatius, 2011), by Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI
In Jesus of Nazareth, Joseph Ratzinger brings to his study the vast learning of a brilliant scholar, the passionate searching of a great mind, and the deep compassion of a pastor’s heart. He dares readers to grapple with the meaning of Jesus’ life, teaching, death, and resurrection.

The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views (IVP, 2006), edited by James K. Beilby and Paul Rhodes Eddy
In the Nature of the Atonement: Four Views, four popular scholars debate four different views of the atonement: Christus Victor (Gregory A. Boyd); penal substitution (Thomas Schreiner); healing (Bruce Reichenbach); and kaleidoscopic (Joel B. Green).

Books on the resurrection

The Resurrection of the Son of God (SPCK, 2003), by N.T. Wright
In The Resurrection of the Son of God, N.T. Wright surveys ancient beliefs about life after death. He seeks the best historical conclusions about the empty tomb and the belief that Jesus rose bodily from the dead, recognizing it was this belief that caused early Christians to call Jesus “Son of God”—a challenge to both politics and theology.

Surprised by Hope,  by N.T. Wright
N.T. Wright argues that what we believe about life after death will directly affect what we believe about life before death. If God intends to renew the whole creation—and if this began with Jesus’ resurrection—then the Church cannot stop at “saving souls.” It must work for God’s kingdom in the wider world, bringing healing and hope in the present life.

Resurrection, by Alister McGrath
Using poetry, prayer, and theological reflection along with commentary and fine art paintings, Alister McGrath engages both the mind and the imagination as he explores the great and extraordinary affirmation “Christ is risen!”

Living the Resurrection: The Risen Christ in Everyday Life (NavPress, 2006), by Eugene Peterson
With writing that is full of life, beauty, and prophetic insight, Living the Resurrection reflects on the three aspects of Christ’s resurrection that define our lives and energize our faith:

  • Resurrection wonder, the central focus of life in Christ
  • Resurrection meals, the invitation to daily spiritual formation
  • Resurrection friends, the intimate fellowship in whose midst the risen Jesus makes his joyful home

The Resurrection of Jesus: John David Crossan and N.T. Wright in Dialogue (Fortress Press, 2006), Robert B. Stewart
Two of today’s most important and popular New Testament scholars, John Dominic Crossan and N.T. Wright, discuss contrasting understandings of the historical reality and theological meaning of Jesus’ resurrection.


Learn more about the resurrection in Mobile Ed: NT156 The Significance of the Resurrection (2 hour course)—or read more about Holy Week below.

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Logos Staff

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Written by Logos Staff