Traditional views on the atonement tend to be reductive, focusing solely on Jesus’s death on the cross. In his 2011 groundbreaking book Atonement and the Logic of Resurrection in the Epistle to the Hebrews, David Moffitt challenged that paradigm, showing how the atonement is a fuller process. It involves not only Jesus’s death but also his resurrection, ascension, offering, and exaltation.
In the succeeding years, Moffitt has continued to expand and clarify his thinking on this issue. This book offers a more fulsome articulation of his work on the atonement that reflects his recent thinking on the topic. Moffitt continues to challenge reductive views of the atonement, primarily from the book of Hebrews, but he engages other New Testament passages as well. He offers fresh insights on sacrifice and atonement, the importance of resurrection and ascension, Jesus’s role as priest, and a new perspective on Hebrews.
This important book brings Moffitt’s award-winning and influential scholarship to a broader audience. The book includes a foreword by N. T. Wright.
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Moffitt brings together several substantial, probing chapters covering a wide range of issues, mostly in Hebrews but with important extra material on Matthew, Luke-Acts, and the early 'creed' in 1 Corinthians 15. Backed up by a wealth of detailed exegetical and theological argument, he engages with scholarly debate not only to answer critics of his earlier proposals (though he does that trenchantly, not least by a detailed study of patristic sources) but to extend his proposals into several areas where the modern reappraisal of the ancient Jewish world, so vital for today's studies of Jesus and Paul, needs to be worked through in terms of what Hebrews is actually saying--which is somewhat different from what many have assumed. The result is an eye-opening series of arguments, each one of which now needs to be pondered and integrated into our overall assessment of Hebrews and its contribution to early Christian thought as a whole. Moffitt clearly relishes both the fine-grained detail of biblical exegesis and the larger theological picture that emerges from it, and all who share these passions will richly enjoy his writing.
—N. T. Wright
Rarely does a new body of scholarship come along that compels us to rethink what we thought we knew about the New Testament. Moffitt's work on the Letter to the Hebrews is exactly that sort of game-changing intervention. This new collection of deeply researched essays builds upon and persuasively amplifies his earlier interpretations of resurrection and atonement in Hebrews, while also illuminating the theology of other New Testament documents. For those whose faculties have been trained by practice to recognize serious and illuminating exegesis, this book is not milk but solid food.
—Richard B. Hays, George Washington Ivey Distinguished Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Duke University
Moffitt argues compelling that while Jesus's death on a cross completes the earthly work of salvation, his priestly work in heaven continues, and this too is part of his saving, and atoning, work. This collection of essays is not simply a rethinking but a Copernican Revolution in atonement theology, both because it concerns the movement of a celestial body (the risen and ascended Jesus Christ) and because it calls for a reversal of some traditional soteriological polarities.
—Kevin J. Vanhoozer, research professor of systematic theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
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