God's Just Vengeance: Crime, Violence and the Rhetoric of Salvation

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This book examines the relationship between the theologies of atonement and penal strategies. Christian theology was potent in Western society until the nineteenth century, and the so-called "satisfaction theory" of the atonement interacted and reacted with penal practice. Gorringe argues that atonement theology created a structure of affect that favored retributive policies. He reviews theory and practice in the twentieth century, and makes concrete proposals for both theology and criminal and societal violence.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...[an] extraordinarily learned volume....unusually perceptive and even profound. It should be read and studied carefully by everyone involved in the administration of criminal justice." Law Books In Review

"...the author convincingly demonstrates how an atonement model invariably leads to a retributivist strategy based on punishing offenders." The Canadian Catholic Review

"...a fine piece of detective work." Theological Studies

"...this is an ambitious and thought-provoking book." Rachel Fulton, Law and History Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521557627
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/18/2002
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Ideology and Religion Series, #9
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Religion and retribution; Part I. The Cultural Formation of Atonement: Biblical Sources: 2. Blood which makes atonement; 3. Accounting for the cross; Part II. Making Satisfaction: Atonement and Penalty 1090–1890: 4. The ladder of all high designs; 5. The wounds of Christ; 6. Three angry letters in a book; 7. The moral government of the universe; 8. The age of atonement; Part III. Contemporary Directions in Atonement and Penal Theory: 9. The gospel and retribution; 10. Forgiveness, crime and community.

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