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Atonement, Law, and Justice: The Cross in Historical and Cultural Contexts
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Atonement, Law, and Justice: The Cross in Historical and Cultural Contexts


Baker Academic 2014

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Tackling an issue of perennial interest in the Christian academy, Adonis Vidu provides a critical reading of the history of major atonement theories by exploring selected patterns, recurrent concepts, and attempts to discern broader themes. Vidu also offers an in-depth analysis of the legal and political contexts within which these atonement theories arose. The book engages the latest work in atonement theory and serves as a helpful resource for contemporary discussions.

Vidu suggests that the history of atonement thinking can be read as an ongoing conversation with the history of thinking about justice and the law. This volume explores the impact of theories of law and justice on major historical atonement theories. Understanding this relationship yields a better understanding of atonement thinkers by situating them in their intellectual contexts. The book also explores the relevance of the doctrine of divine simplicity for atonement theory. Students and scholars interested in understanding historic views of the atonement and their relation to theories of law and justice will value this work. It will also work well as a textbook for graduate courses in theology, ethics, and law.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Get this book and more in the Baker Academic Theological Studies Update III.

Key Features

  • Provides a critical reading of the history of major atonement theories
  • Offers an in-depth analysis of legal and political contexts
  • Explores the relevance of the doctrine of divine simplicity for atonement theory


  • Justice, Law, and the Cross in Patristic Thought
  • Medieval Atonement and the Legal Revolution
  • The Reformation: Luther, Calvin, and the Tradition of Penal Substitution
  • Modernity: Atonement and the Cure of the Soul
  • Atonement and the Postmodern Critique of Law
  • Atonement and the Perfection of Divine Agency

Praise for the Print Edition

Adonis Vidu has written a learned, thoughtful, and intriguing study of the history of atonement as it relates to concepts of law and justice. Of particular interest in the current context of wider discussions of the doctrine of God is Vidu’s articulate exposition and defense of atonement in relation to divine simplicity. This is a fascinating and significant book that repays careful reading.

Carl R. Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary, Pennsylvania

Adonis Vidu does much more than provide a meticulous and perceptive overview of the history of atonement theology. He argues that we understand this history properly only by tracing the medieval interlacing of justice and law and their disentanglement in the modern period. And by linking the doctrine of divine simplicity to God’s agency in the crucifixion, Vidu presents a nuanced plea for the inclusion of the role of punishment in a fully-orbed understanding of the death of Christ.

Hans Boersma, J.I. Packer Professor of Theology, Regent College, Vancouver

The story of how the Christian doctrine of the atonement developed is both fascinating and important. Too often, however, it is told without proper attention to the importance of various intellectual contexts. In this work, Vidu calls clichés into question and works to show how different models of the atonement are related to varied notions of justice and law in the Western intellectual tradition. It is a work that will open further inquiry, and it will repay careful study.

Thomas H. McCall, associate professor of biblical and systematic theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Product Details

About Adonis Vidu

Adonis Vidu is an associate professor of theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, and is the author of several books, including Postliberal Theological Method. He previously taught at Emmanuel University and at the University of Bucharest in his home country of Romania.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition