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Original Sin: Origins, Developments, Contemporary Meanings Paperback – November 1, 2002

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A splendid, deeply researched work. -- Gerard Sloyan, Professor Emeritus of Religion at Temple University and Visiting Professor of Religion at the Catholic University of America<br \><br \>It does all that it should do: It is attentive to church doctrine but finally is ecumenical in its approach. --Roger Haight, S.J., Weston School of Theology

This is a good and clearly written, accessible volume, sweeping in its coverage of the subject. --Larry Rasmussen, Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics, Union Theological Seminary

This teaching tool, shows why insights of the tradition are still relevant to today's problems. --Lisa Sowle Cahill, Monan Professor of Theology, Boston College

About the Author

Tatha Wiley holds a doctorate in systematic theology from Boston College. She has taught at St. John's University (Minnesota) and St. Olaf College, and currently teaches at Metropolitan State University and United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Paulist Press; 10.2.2002 edition (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809141280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809141289
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #606,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
One can trace much of the Western theological tradition to the concept of original sin, and this book is an excellent resource for such studies. Augustine to Anselm, Trent and Luther, Neibuhr to Reuther to Lonergan. The first part of the book is a historical recap up to the 16th century, mostly based upon secondary sources. The second half deals with contemporary authors dealing with the inheretance, no pun intended!

I would suggest Romanides' "The Ancestral Sin" for a more detailed telling which also takes into account the Eastern Church.
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Maintaining a firm foundation of Faith today is arduous. Contemporary knowledge and the rigors of disciplined logic render literalism untenable. Tatha Wiley's "Original Sin" was outstanding and repeatedly insightful. I found her exposition and explanation of the evolving concept of Original sin to be highly readable and understandable. Being a child of the (early!) twentieth century I have always had a problem with biblical literalism. Ms. Wiley's book gave me a great basis for understanding a very real concept of Original sin without having to check my brains at the door. Echoing a prior reviewer, my copy of "Original Sin" is copiously and rather wantonly highlighted in technicolor.
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Tatha Wiley does a wonderful job in this book of describing the origins of the doctrine of Original Sin and the problems faced by theologians today with the earlier ideas of Augustine and Aquinas, etc. I greatly value the entire book and especially the discussion of Bernard Lonergan's theology. This is obviously a faith affirming and orthodox endeavor. -------- However ----- My subjective response which may be of little or no value to anyone is this --- There was no Original Sin; there was no Fall; and we are not born alienated from God in any way. We don't need magical rituals to "restore" anything that was lost. ---The biblical texts used to support these ideas cannot bear the weight of the theology built on them. . Not at all. ---- And there is no real biblical source of a revelation about Fallen Angels, the Devil etc. This ideas aren't good ideas. ------ We are moving forward morally in a biological world that is unfolding in time. And as Teilhard de Chardin indicated, evil is inevitable in any biological world unfolding in time (not his exact words.) ---- And only when we cast aside the doctrine of Original Sin and the Fall, and all magical thinking about sanctifying grace and such, will we be able to really address the moral challenges we face. ----- Obviously many Christians and Catholics are unable to do this. They simply can't. They can't abandon a doctrine affirmed by the Reformers, or by the Council of Trent. So books like this struggle with an immense burden. They are trying to move forward, but they carry all sorts of cumbersome baggage with them. Such is the nature of writing Catholic and Christian theology, I presume. It is a highly conservative enterprise in which you "conserve" as much as you can as you inch towards something new.Read more ›
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I'm not really all that far into this book, but the Introduction literally captured my attention. I am most impressed with the author's(Tatha Wiley) approach to discussing the subject. I choose it because I wanted a fair reading on the doctrine of original sin, particularly its relevance in early Christianity and how it evolved into doctrine which is a foundation of Christianity, without which Christianity appears to have a very weak base for the purpose of the life of Jesus. But it does require a fair hearing without personal prejudice to grasp the subject itself. I've enjoyed what I've read so far.
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First, she showed tremendous respect for the early philosophers and fairly presented their positions before moving on quite forcefully to the higher ground of liberation and feminist theologies. She was able to write quite understandably about very difficult concepts. It is my hope that additional feminist and liberation perspectives will emerge to provide greater insights into our understanding of G_D. Thank you for the book
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Growing up in the Reform Traditions I have a long time interest in 'original sin.' I certainly listened as a teen to many sermons about the 'depravity' of myself and others. In fact, as I started my second year of college at a mid western church college, my first stop quite literally was the school library to find something on that which I was so 'convicted', "original sin."

There I found two books dating to the late 1800s that said that "original sin" 1. was due to "seminal transmission" or as the second book offered 2. "genetic transmission". I thought, my word, we had not yet even seen a gene, as the electron microscope had not yet been invented. I slept somewhat better that very night as regards my own depravity. Happily, by my third year in another college I managed a modest grade in an upper division genetics course. And there on the 13th allele, second gene from the left was a genetic segment clearly stamped "OS." Kidding!

What a terrific job has Dr. Wiley done. I am much, much too tardy in writing this review. She was so kind to share a copy of her notes subsequent to her lecture at the Newman Center here in Lexington, Kentucky several years ago. I am hoping she will return.
Her treatment of the subject was thorough, detailed and clearly set in an historic context. Indispensable, both theologically and historically!

I must say while recommending this to every serious student of our Western tradition, that I do not recommend this to any orthodox theologians. I do not wish Dr. Wiley to come into any harm. If only her book on "Original Sin" had been on that library shelf next to the first treatments of "OS" I had in hand as a second year college student. Had such been the case, my sleep would have been all the more comfortable...most of the time... over the years.
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