Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

School

Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, MA: Theology

First Advisor

Denis Fortin

Abstract

The writings of Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Parker have perspicaciously highlighted challenges that atonement theology faces in its interface with the experiences of abused women and children. These thinkers have alerted the theological community to the fact that an atonement model which commends or valorizes the divinely-mandated suffering of an innocent victim (Jesus) can nefariously encourage domestic abuse victims to accept their own abuse, as if it were God’s will. Brock and Parker therefore recommend abandoning language which attaches any salvific significance to the Cross in atonement.

This thesis explores and recommends an alternative form of theological language—called “governmental atonement theology”—which may ameliorate the problems noted by Brock and Parker. This study briefly examines the history and evolution of the governmental view from its early moorings in the theology of Hugo Grotius, up to its contemporary adaptation by René Girard. The focus then shifts to selected biblical expressions of the governmental view. Finally, this thesis demonstrates ways in which the governmental view can present the Cross as a saving event for abuse victims, while not implicating God in abuse.

Subject Area

Abused women, Atonement, Brock, Rita Nakashima--Views on atonement, Parker, Rebeccan Ann--Views on atonement

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