Friday, October 25, 2013

atonement theories/ideational logic..or ritual logic/piety/practice?

Ryan Schellenberg:

The actuality of the atonement exceeds our theologizing:

....people are more than the sum of their conscious ideas, and therefore any account of atonement in the New Testament should be curious about how the message of the cross connected with the rest of what makes up a human being. Surely it is instructive here that the earliest evidence we have for atonement piety is not theological discourse at all but rather ritual practice, specifically, baptism and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, both of which predate any extant Christian text by nearly twenty years. 17 We don’t know what the earliest followers of Jesus were saying about the atonement, but we do know that they participated ritually in his death and resurrection—they shared in his body and blood; they joined in his death and resurrection—and thus experienced themselves as redeemed people. It is worth asking, then, however much it goes against our Protestant instincts, whether early atonement faith, like sacrifice among the Israelites, was governed not by theological/ideational logic at all, but rather by ritual logic. What if this is why both so obstinately resist theorization?...

Recovering the Scandal of the Cross: A ‘Redaction-Critical’ Reflection, Direction, Spring 2012  ·  Vol. 41 No. 1

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Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!