Sacrifice and Atonement: Psychological Motives and Biblical Patterns
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About "Sacrifice and Atonement: Psychological Motives and Biblical Patterns"
Beneath the commonplace affirmation that Jesus "paid for our sins" lie depths of implication: did God demand a blood sacrifice to assuage divine anger? ls sacrifice (consciously or unconsciously) intended to induce the deity to show favour? What underlies the various metaphors for atonement used in the Bible? Here, Stephen Finlan surveys psychological theories that help us to understand beliefs about sacrifice and atonement and what they may reveal about patterns of injury, guilt, shame, and appeasement. Early chapters examine the language in both testaments of purity and the "scapegoat," and of payment, obligation, reciprocity, and redemption. Later chapters review theories of the origins of atonement thinking in fear and traumatic childhood experience, in ambivalent or avoidant attachment to the parents, and in "poisonous pedagogy." The theories of Sandor Rado, Mary Ainsworth, Erik Erikson, and Alice Miller are examined, then Finlan draws conclusions about the moral responsibility of appropriating or rejecting atonement metapors and their effects today.
Meet the Author
Stephen Finlan, PhD, is an adjunct professor at Drew University and has taught at Fordham. He is also author of Problems with Atonement and Options on Atonement in Christian Thought (both published by Liturgical Press) as well as The Background and Content of Paul's Cultic Atonement Metaphors (SBL and Brill, 2004).