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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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Part I - The Theology of the Cross in the Czech Protestant Tradition During the Twentieth Century 25

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Part I The Theology of the Cross in the Czech Protestant Tradition During the Twentieth Century Chapter 1 Josef Lukl Hromádka: The Significance of the Cross for the Journeys of a Protestant Theologian In the course of studying the writings of the most eminent Czech theologian – Josef Lukl Hromádka – it does not escape our attention that the mean- ing of the cross and the death of Jesus of Nazareth lies somewhat outside of his main interest.1 Hromádka is an incarnational theologian. Thus, we find teachings about the Incarnation of God and the word of God at the forefront of his main focus. He views the Incarnation as the Lord’s entrance into history – as the entry of the God of Israel into our world, where sin, dark forces of evil, estrangement between people and their f light from the demands that the sovereign God places on them reign. God’s entrance into our broken world takes place for the sake of its salvation. God wants to restore us to authentic existence. It is in this context and against this backdrop that we find Hromádka’s interpretations of Christ’s cross and the meaning and significance of his sacrifice on Golgotha. It appears to me that Hromádka changes emphases in the course of his analyses; he proceeds, as it were, from one key to another. It is even possible to say that he changes his point of view to such an extent that he presents a dual theology of the...

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