The Patristic Doctrine of Redemption

Forefeast of the Transfiguration
The Patristic Doctrine of Redemption: A Study of the Development of Doctrine During the First Five Centuries by H. E. W. Turner

Patristic_Doctrrine_of_Redemption.jpgBASED UPON a series of lectures given in 1949 during Passion Week, H. E. W. Turner builds upon the foundation laid eighteen years earlier by Gustaf Aulen’s seminal work on the atonement, Christus Victor. While Aulen revived what he described as the “classic” patristic view of redemption with Christ as Victor, Turner notes Aulen’s failure to fully explore the far more variegated view of the Church Fathers. Indeed, confronted with more pressing theological controversies, the Fathers were not compelled to translate their joyfully lived experience of the redemption into a definitive doctrinal formula as the Cappadocians did for the Trinity or as Chalcedon did for Christology. Instead, they viewed the entire Incarnation—from birth to death to resurrection—as the decisive act of redemption. Consequently, no single patristic perspective existed and Turner sets out to paint a more nuanced and accurate picture of the patristic understanding by exploring Christ as Illuminator (“The Logos Paidagogos leading his people into an ever-increasing experience of Illumination”), Victim (“The Christ Victim conjoined with the Passion Mysticism of the Medieval period”), Victor (“The Christus Victor offering vicarious victory to mankind”) and Giver of Incorruption and Deification (Christ “became what we are, that He might make us what He is Himself”). Viewed as an integrated image, Turner argues, it becomes clear that for the Fathers the “Redemption, essentially, centrally, consists in Transfiguration, the lifting of human life . . . by the participation, through all that the Historical Christ was, and achieved, in the very life and character of the Triune God Himself.”

124 pp. paper $18.00

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