Approaching the Atonement

The Reconciling Work of Christ

by Oliver D. Crisp

Approaching the Atonement
  • Length: 208 pages
  • Published: February 11, 2020
  •  Forthcoming
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-5197-3
  • Item Code: 5197

In many ways, the death of Jesus Christ on the cross stands at the heart of the Christian faith.

But how should we understand the theological significance of Christ's death? How has the church interpreted that event in developing a doctrine of atonement? Should we limit our doctrine of the atonement to the cross, or is Christ's work more expansive than that?

Theologian Oliver Crisp explores such questions around the meaning of the cross and the various ways that the death of Jesus has been interpreted in the church's history—from ransom theory in the early church to penal substitutionary theory to more recent feminist critiques. What emerges from this study is a more complex, expansive, and fruitful understanding of the atonement and its significance for the Christian faith today.


1. Approaching the Atonement
2. Several Patristic Accounts of Atonement
3. The Ransom Account of Atonement
4. The Satisfaction Doctrine of Atonement
5. Moral Exemplarism and Atonement
6. Penal Substitutionary Atonement
7. Governmental and Vicarious Penitence Doctrines of Atonement
8. The Problem of Atoning Violence
9. Mashup and Kaleidoscopic Accounts of Atonement
10. Participation and Atonement
Glossary of Terms


Oliver D. Crisp (PhD, University of London, DLitt, University of Aberdeen) is professor of analytic theology at the University of St. Andrews. He is the author of several books, including Analyzing Doctrine: Toward a Systematic Theology, Saving Calvinism: Expanding the Reformed Tradition, Jonathan Edwards Among The Theologians, and The Word Enfleshed: Exploring the Person and Work of Christ. He is a founding editor of the Journal of Analytic Theology, and co-organizes the annual Los Angeles Theology Conference with Fred Sanders.

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