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From Christ’s Death to Jesus’ Life

A Critical Reinterpretation of Prevailing Theories of the Cross- Translated by Joyce J. Michael

Jakub S. Trojan

This book began to materialize in the 1960s and 1970s during clandestine seminars organized by the author for Czechoslovak thinkers who dared to ponder theological questions during the communist era. It therefore provides a revealing glimpse of some of the issues that were of concern to people living under the domination of both the Nazi and communist regimes. This aspect of the book is evident in its emphasis on questions of theodicy which are raised by the idea that Jesus’ death was initiated by God.
At the same time, the book is very much concerned with contemporary issues. By analyzing traditional understandings of the cross held by a number of prominent theologians, the author seeks to address the fact that classic theories of the atonement do not speak in a compelling way to today’s secularized, post-Christian milieu. After examining perspectives that place central emphasis on the salvific consequence of Jesus’ death, the author presents his own views regarding the significance that Jesus’ life may have for the present age. He challenges his readers to venture a living interpretation of Scripture and explores the possibility that God’s plan of salvation is most faithfully represented by the compassion and justice that Jesus modelled throughout his entire life.

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Introduction 1

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1 of Czech Brethren which refer to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as being the decisive fact of our faith.22 160: ‘The birth and death of Jesus Christ, God’s beloved, surely helps everyone who is penitent to attain salvation.’ 165: ‘With his blood, he deigned, at great cost, to purchase me for his possession.’ 241: ‘He laid down his spirit in death as a ransom.’ 248: ‘He allotted to me his share of the eternally ef fective blood of the cross.’ 249: ‘O Jesus Christ, our Saviour, you delivered us with your dear blood.’ 252: ‘Because of your defeat by death, you are the root of salvation.’ 258: ‘And by the well-spring of his blood, I have been cleansed of all sins.’ 266: ‘The only-begotten Son, who out of great mercy for our con- siderable need, was given for our redemption and thus, for our eternal salvation’ 308: ‘Your body suf fered fateful blows for us; you deigned to stand in for us yourself; to be sure, you paid dearly for us; you died for us.’ 309: ‘Without any regret, he sacrificed himself for us out of his sheer mercy; he took a vile death upon himself, and paid a great pen- alty to the Holy God for the sins of humankind: his blood.’ 313: ‘He took the sins of the world upon himself, and gave his life for us; he obliterated death with his death.’ 319: ‘He deigned to bear blows, scars, death and pain for us sinners, and...

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