The central Christian belief in salvation through the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ remains one of the most intractable mysteries of Christian faith. Throughout history, it has given rise to various theories of atonement, many of which have been subject to critique as they no longer speak to contemporary notions of evil and sin or to current conceptions of justice. One of the important challenges for contemporary Christian theology thus involves exploring new ways of understanding the salvific meaning of the cross.
In Atonement and Comparative Theology, Christian theologians with expertise in Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, and African Religions reflect on how engagement with these traditions sheds new light on the Christian understanding of atonement by pointing to analogous structures of sin and salvation, drawing attention to the scandal of the cross as seen by the religious other, and re-interpreting aspects of the Christian understanding of atonement. Together, they illustrate the possibilities for comparative theology to deepen and enrich Christian theological reflection.
About the authors
Catherine Cornille is Professor of Comparative Theology at Boston College, where she holds the Newton College Alumnae Chair in Western Culture. She has published widely in the areas of Comparative Theology, Theology of Religions and Interreligious Dialogue. Her most recent book is Meaning and Method in Comparative Theology (Wiley, 2020).
Bede Benjamin Bidlack is an Associate Professor of Theology at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. He publishes in the areas of comparative theology, Daoist studies, theological anthropology, interreligious dialogue, and philosophy. He is the author of In Good Company: The Body and Divinization in the Thought of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ and Daoist Xiao Yingsou (2015).
Francis X. Clooney, S.J., is the Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology at Harvard Divinity School. His primary areas of Indological scholarship are theological commentarial writings in the Sanskrit and Tamil traditions of Hindu India. He has also written on the Jesuit missionary tradition, particularly in India, on the early Jesuit pan-Asian discourse on reincarnation, and on the dynamics of dialogue and interreligious learning in the contemporary world. His most recent books are Reading the Hindu and Christian Classics: Why and How Deep Learning Still Matters (2019) and Western Jesuit Scholars in India: Tracing their Paths, Reassessing Their Goals (2020).
Thierry-Marie Courau, O.P., is a Catholic theologian and Honorary Dean at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Sciences Theologicum, at the Catholic Institute of Paris, France (2011–2017). A member of the Dominican Order, he specializes in Tibetan Buddhism studies. He is President of the International Journal of Theology, Concilium. His most recent books are Le dialogue des rationalités culturelles et religieuses (2019), Le salut comme dialogue (2018), and La succession des exercices vers l’Éveil bouddhique (2017).
S. Mark Heim is the Samuel Abbot Professor of Christian Theology at Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School. He has written extensively on issues of religious pluralism, atonement, and Christian ecumenism. His books include Salvations: Truth and Difference in Theology (1995), The Depth of the Riches: A Trinitarian Theology of Religious Ends (2001), Saved from Sacrifice: A Theology of the Cross (2006), and most recently, Crucified Wisdom: Christ and the Bodhisattva in Theological Reflection (2018).
Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski is the Duncalf Villavaso Professor of Church History at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. He works in the fields of comparative theology, Jewish-Christian relations, and Anglican studies. He is most recently the author of The More Torah, The More Life: A Christian Commentary on Mishnah Avot (2018). He is an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church.
Leo D. Lefebure is the inaugural holder of the Matteo Ricci, S.J., Chair of Theology at Georgetown University. He is the author of the forthcoming work Interreligious Relationships Transformed: Catholic Responses to Religious Pluralism in the United States; he is also the author of True and Holy: Christian Scripture and Other Religions (2014) and the co-author of The Path of Wisdom: A Christian Commentary on the Dhammapada (2011). He is President of the Society for Buddhist Christian Studies, Research Fellow of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Trustee Emeritus of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions.
Daniel A. Madigan, S.J., is Jeanette W. and Otto J. Ruesch Family Distinguished Jesuit Scholar, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Senior Fellow of the Al-Waleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, and Faculty Fellow of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University. He is also an Honorary Professorial Fellow of Australian Catholic University. From 2000 to 2007, Madigan was the founder and director of the Institute for the Study of Religions and Cultures at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Since 2012, he has been Chair of the Building Bridges Seminar, an annual week-long study session for Muslim and Christian scholars invited from all over the world.
Marianne Moyaert is Professor at the Free University of Amsterdam, where she holds the Fenna Diemer Lindeboom Chair in Comparative Theology and the Hermeneutics of Interreligious Dialogue. She is the author of In Response to the Religious Other: Ricoeur and the Fragility of Interreligious Encounters (2014) and editor of Interreligious Dialogue and Ritual Participation: Boundaries, Transgressions and Innovations (2015).
Joshua Ralston is Reader in Christian-Muslim Relations at the University of Edinburgh and founder and director of the Christian-Muslim Studies Network. He is the author of Law and the Rule of God: A Christian Engagement with Shari‘a and co-editor of Church in the Age of Global Migration: A Moving Body (2015). He has published numerous essays and book chapters on Protestant theology, Christian Muslim dialogue, and political theology.
Elochukwu Uzukwu is the Rev. Pierre Schouver C.S.Sp. Endowed Chair in Mission at Duquesne University. His research interests are in the areas of liturgy-sacraments, ritual studies, ecclesiology, missiology, and contextual theology, with particular focus on continental Africa and Africa in the diaspora. He is author of God, Spirit, and Human Wholeness: Appropriating Faith and Culture in West African Style (2012) and Family of God: Africa’s Treasure, Reinventing Christianity and the World (in progress).
Klaus von Stosch holds the Schlegel Chair in Systematic Theology at Bonn University. His areas of research are comparative theology; faith and reason; the problem of evil; Christian theology responsive to Islam, especially Christology; and theology of the Trinity. His most recent books are Herausforderung Islam. Christliche Annaherungen (2016) and The Other Prophet: Jesus in the Qur’an (2019).
Michelle Voss Roberts is Professor of Theology and Principal at Emmanuel College, a multireligious theological school at the University of Toronto. Her published work in comparative theology includes Dualities: A Theology of Difference (2010), Tastes of the Divine: Hindu and Christian Theologies of Emotion (2014), and Body Parts: A Theological Anthropology (2017). With Chad Bauman, she is also the editor of the Routledge Handbook of Hindu-Christian Relations.
Atonement and Comparative Theology is an excellent resource for those who think they have no time to teach comparative theology because they are too busy teaching systematics, or Christology, or any other branch of theology. It helps us to understand Christian theologies of atonement by using a comparative lens from some of the finest comparative theologians in the world.---Amir Hussain, Chair and Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University,
What Christian doctrine has proved itself more problematic—for biblical hermeneutics, for ecumenical engagement, for feminist theology, for ethical deployment—than that of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus? And, therefore, what better choice for a multi-religious engagement? This volume opens the symbol of the atonement to startlingly fresh questions, contrasts, and critiques. Catherine Cornille has effected a multi-faceted demonstration of the transformative potential—beyond respectful juxtaposition or conceptual translation— of comparative theology.---Catherine Keller, George T. Cobb Professor of Constructive Theology, Drew University, and author of Cloud of the Impossible: Negative Theology and Planetary Entanglement,