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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Herbert Translator. In it he identifies three main types of Atonement Theory: The earliest was what he called the "classic" view of the Atonement, more commonly known as Ransom Theory or since '31 known sometimes as the "Christus Victor" theory.
Some have argued that the penal substitution theory of the atonement was expressed by early church fathers, such as Justin Martyr c. A 3rd is the "subjective" theory, commonly known as the Moral Influence view, that Christ's passion was an act of exemplary obedience which affects the intentions of those who come to know about it.
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Jan 20, Joel Wentz rated it it was amazing. This classic work of theology is indispensable reading for anyone who grew up in the Western church tradition. Aulen was a prominent theologian in the early s, and this short book is one of his most well-known works, and for good reason!
Growing up in the evangelical church, I had always assumed that "penal substitution" was simply the only way of understanding Christ's atoning work. As an historical overview, Christus Victor clearly shows that this tradition emerged from what Aulen calls th This classic work of theology is indispensable reading for anyone who grew up in the Western church tradition. As an historical overview, Christus Victor clearly shows that this tradition emerged from what Aulen calls the "Latin" understanding of atonement, which wasn't clearly articulated until around years into the church's existence!
Rather, Aulen argues that the "classic" understanding of atonement Christ's victory over sin and death has the strongest historical precedent. While Christus Victor isn't an apologetic for any one atonement tradition though it's clear that Aulen is convinced the "classic" understanding is the strongest , it is a supremely helpful survey of how different strands of atonement doctrine have emerged through our history.
For me, it helped me understand some of my own discomfort with "penal subsitution", as well as the scope of how the body of Christ have wrestled with this doctrine through the ages. Highly, highly recommended! Jul 05, Judah Ivy rated it really liked it Shelves: christian-doctrine. Aulen's book was a much-needed elucidation for me.
Before reading it I'd only heard references and short descriptions of the "Christus Victor" view of Christs' work of atonement. It's a very informative work. He details the origin and development of the three main types of atonement theology: The Classic view, which he puts forward as the authentic type, and shows to have been the main idea of the atonement held by the early church fathers. The Latin type: proposed in its detailed form by Anselm Th Aulen's book was a much-needed elucidation for me.
The Latin type: proposed in its detailed form by Anselm The Subjective type: proposed first by Abelard in opposition to Anselm, but not adopted as a main view until the enlightenment.
He states multiple times in the book that he's not writing an apologetic work in favor of the "classic" Christus Victor view of the atonement, but it's obvious to see where his sympathies lie. Once you get the hang of it it all makes sense. He keeps on saying that the "Classic" type over against the "Latin" type emphasizes the importance of the Incarnation, but I don't see how.
To quote from the section "An Analysis of the Three Types": "[in the classic type:] His true manhood receives full emphasis. But yet again, this does not mean that the redemptive work of Christ is regarded as performed by him purely as man, or that it gains increased value through the association of the Deity with the Humanity.
Why not just defeat the "enemies" in His unveiled Godhood? At the end of the book he points out that the "Classic" Christus Victor view has never been and will never be a "rational" theory or doctrine, but rather a motif, a theme, an Idea. Not because it is indefinite, but rather because of the pairs of apparent contradictions it involves e. He ends with saying that "The images are but popular helps for the understanding of the idea, It is the Idea itself which is primary", which almost convinces me that C.
Lewis read this book as well, considering this quote from Mere Christianity: "We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed out our sins, and that by dying He disabled death itself. That is the formula. That is Christianity. That is what has to be believed. Any theories we build up as to how Christ's death did all this are, in my view, quite secondary: mere plans or diagrams to be left alone if they do not help us, and, even if they do help us, not to be confused with the thing itself.
View all 3 comments. Apr 14, Ryan Dufoe rated it really liked it. I gave it a 4 as a classic within the history of the church and NOT as a free-standing work.
I think much better anthologies of thought on atonement theory have been written, but the importance this book has in bringing the Christus Victor view back into the conversation is part of the reason why the other books are so good.
I appreciated the read among my other readings in the field for what it was. For a better read covering multiple theories, see Pugh's "The Atonement: A Way Through The Maze" for a short book with an academic bent, or check out Rutledge's "The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ" for a full book that starts with the scriptural images rather than man-made theories.
Mar 12, Ispeakinglish rated it it was amazing. I mean this isn't light reading or anything, but it is a good explanation of the history of the theology of Atonement. Aug 04, Jacob Aitken added it. Triumphing over the powers, July 15, This book provides an historically-faithful alternative to the substitutionary and exemplary models of the atonement. Its strength lies in its presentation of a vivid and robust picture of the work of Christ.
Its the book, not the model weakness is its simplistic reductions of other theologians' thoughts. Overview: The Christus Victor model presents the work of Christ as a triumph over the devil, powers demons , bondage of sin, and the "law. Christ united humanity to his nature to redeem it. He redeemed it still united to his nature on the cross. This is to be contrasted with the Latin views of the atonement, which are narrowly penal.
The Latin views incorporate merit and penance in the atonment model. For Aulen, this move removes the work of God from the work of Christ in redemption. Criticisms of the work: This is why I give it 4 stars. I do not think he dealt as fairly with St Anselm as he could have. Aulen also used language that begged the question in favor of his position. Aside from the above criticisms, this is a paradigm-shifting book. Mar 27, James rated it really liked it. I finally got around to reading this book.
Aulen's stated purpose is to outline the classic view of the atonement and to compare it to the objective latin model and the subjective exemplar model. Aulen does an excellent job of describing the patriotic view and the development of penal substitution. One major difference he sees between the classic model and the later penal models is an emphasis on Christ's divinity in the former and Christ's humanity in the latter.
The classic view posits tha I finally got around to reading this book. The classic view posits that Christ's incarnation and atonement was God's way of defeating the demonic powers that held humanity captive from within. In the satisfaction model, God becomes man in order to pay the penalty due sinful humanity.
Both of these models are objective, but while the penal view rescues humanity from God's punishment, the Christus Victor view sees the atonement as rescuing humanity from demonic oppression.
Aulen deals less with the subjective view, though he treats its main proponents. Before Aulen wrote this book, the Latin and subjective models were treated like a binary in atonement views. Aulen helped us recover the patriots and Luther's view.
Important for its day, this book is now largely discredited.
BOOK REVIEW: Christus Victor by Gustaf Aulen
The aim of this book is described by the author, as an attempt to articulate a historical study of the three main ideas of the atonement. Aulen actually spends more time defining, comparing and contrasting two of these views. The first view, he calls the classic view which he argues was held by the Early Church. The second view, he describes as the Latin view. Aulen says that this view overtook the classic view at some point in earlier church history.
Christus Victor: The Salvation of God and the Cross of Christ
Recapitulation Patristic. Governmental Arminian. The Orthodox Church still holds to the atonement view, based upon their understanding of the atonement put forward by Irenaeus, called " recapitulation ", Jesus became what we are so that we could become what he is. He points to the emerging theology of penance in the Latin Church as the root of Anselm's ideas, particularly in the writings of St. In Anselm's logical but revolutionary extension of penance theology, God is unable or unwilling to pardon humanity without having his Kingship honored by a payment of blood, later this would take the form of "penal substitution", the Reformation idea that God's justice, not his honor, is at stake in the atonement. Since only a man can fulfill mankind's obligations to the Law and to God, Christ must become a man in order to offer perfect penance to God.
Origin of Christus Victor — The book Christus Victor originated from a series of lectures delivered at the University of Uppsala in Sweden in xxi. I myself wonder if he is somewhat disingenuous. His bias is oozing through the text. It is the truly Christian view because, as his historical count seeks to demonstrate, it is the view found in the New Testament, articulated by the early church fathers, and recovered by the thoroughly evangelical Luther.
His most famous work — Christus Victor — followed in , with an English translation in He was the president of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music — He published an autobiography — "My ninety-six years: happenings and thoughts" — in and died two years later on 16 December at the age of His book Christus Victor  has established itself as one of the key reference points in contemporary discussion.