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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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Bibliography Primary Sources Barth, Karl, Kirchliche Dogmatik [Church Dogmatics], vol. 1–4 (Zurich: EVZ 1960). ——, ‘Die herrenlosen Gewalten’, in Das christliche Leben [Unbridled powers, in The Christian life] (Zurich: Theologischer Verlag, 1976). ——, ‘Der Richter als der an unserer Stelle Gerichtete’, in Kirchliche Dogmatik [‘The Judge Judged in our Place’, in Church Dogmatics], iv (Zurich: EVZ, 1960), IV.1 (pp. 231–310). Berger, Klaus, Wozu ist Jesus am Kreuz gestorben? [Why did Jesus die on the cross?] (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 1998). Berkhof, Hendrikus, Christian Faith: An Introduction to the Study of the Faith, trans. Sierd Soudstra (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans), 1979. ——, Theologie des Heiligen Geistes [The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit] (Neukirchen- Vluyn: Neukirchener, 1988). Boer, Theo de, Bůh filosofů a Bůh Pascalův [The God of the philosophers and the God of Pascal], trans. J. A. Dus (Benešov: Eman, 2003). Bonhoef fer, Dietrich, Widerstand und Ergebung [Letters and Papers from Prison] (Munich: Christian Kaiser, 1951). Bultmann, Rudolf, Das Evangelium des Johannes [The Gospel of John: A Commentary] (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1957). ——, Gesammelte Aufsätze [Selected Essays] (Berlin: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1973). ——, Die Geschichte der synoptischen Tradition [The History of the Synoptic Tradition] Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1967). ——, Jěžíš Kristus a mytologie [Jesus Christ and Mythology] Prague: Oikoymenh, 1995. ——, ‘Neues Testament und Mythologie’, in Kerygma und Mythos [‘The New Testament and Mythology’, in Kerygma and Myth] (Hamburg-Bergstedt: H. Reich, 1967). ——, Theologie des Neuen Testament [Theology of the New Testament] (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck...

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