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The Nonviolent Atonement Paperback – August 28, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; 1st Ed. edition (August 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802849083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802849083
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Evangelical Christians sing hymns in which blood figures prominently; one in particular is called "Nothing But the Blood." Such Christians may have to change their tune after reading J. Denny Weaver's The Non-Violent Atonement, which proposes that the idea of "satisfaction atonement" must be jettisoned in favor of a nonviolent approach. Jesus' death, says Weaver, was not planned or sanctioned by God the Father; it was the inevitable result of sinful humans taking matters into their own hands. Perhaps the new hymn can be called "Everything But the Blood"?

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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More About the Author

J. Denny Weaver is Professor Emeritus at Bluffton University where he taught for 31 years. He continues as editor of The C. Henry Smith Series. His most recent books include John Howard Yoder: Radical Theologian, The Nonviolent God, The Nonviolent Atonement, 2nd edition, and the co-authored Defenseless Christianity: Anabaptism for a Nonviolent Church. His many articles and chapters in edited books as well as speaking engagements address a variety of topics related to nonviolence, violence in traditional theology, atonement theology, the character of God, violence in society, and Anabaptist history and theology. He has lectured in the United Kingdom, the Congo, and in Germany.

Customer Reviews

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Very well written book.
Marc Telesha
And he gives us a biblically solid look at the Cross as the revelation of God's love and the manifestation of God's victory.
B. Jersak
Weaver's book does a great job of addressing the question of, who does our theology hurt?
William Benjamin Myers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Tedd Steele on May 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
According to Weaver, Jesus saves by living under the evil systems and structures of power, exposing their true nature in his death, and overcoming them in resurrection. In this way, God is not demanding or perpetrating violence and is on the side of the oppressed. This atonement theory stands in distinction from Anselm's articulation of the atonement in which Jesus dies as a punishment for all sin or a payment to God. It is also in opposition to Abelard's understanding that Jesus shows us God's love and the best way to live. To make his case, Weaver relies heavily on theology from groups who speak from the margins of society. It is clear that the goal is to articulate an understanding of God's action in the life of Christ that stands opposed to violence. Read this book if you have ever had the feeling that in Christ God did more than give you an example of how to live or if you have suspected that God didn't have to see blood to feel better about you.
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74 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Wis.Cur on September 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
I ordered "The Non-Violent Atonement" before it was available and anxiously awaited it arrival. Having followed much of what Weaver has published over the past few years and being sympathetic to his concerns about Anslem atonement motifs, I was ready to be convinced, but finished the book disappointed.
While spending time articulating the Christus Victor motif as seen in scripture, Weaver's argumentation against the defenders of Anslem depends more upon the sensabilities of those of us raised in liberal democracies then the biblical texts. In this way he repeats the strategic mistake he accuses of Anselm who could not see beyond his fuedal culture. He also seems overly dependent upon Walter Wink's conception of the powers as only impersonal structures which then renders Jesus' ministry to the demonics unintelligible.
In closing his critique of abuses of Anselm are wonderful and he gives a adequate, if brief, overview of the Christus Victor motif in scripture. He hits upon a need in theological reflection but his attempt to meet it leaves much to be desired. In the end he seems more concerned with showing that black, feminists, and womanist theologians are on his side than the testimony of the New Testament.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alejandro Prince on July 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Weaver gives a long overdue debunking of Satisfaction (Anselmian) Atonement and provides an alternative approach more true to the biblical narratives. Explaining atonement with Revelation, the Gospels, Paul, Hebrews, and the Old Testament, along with implementing views from Black, Feminist, and Womanist theology, The Nonviolent Atonement is an essential read for students of theology and all interested in learning more about Christianity. If the popular divine-child-abuse atonement theology is troubling for you, you've gotta give this one a read.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. Womble on August 30, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Nonviolent Atonement was loaned to me by my pastor (who had just finished it) in response to some pretty intense "don't make sense to me" questions I had after a complete reading of the Old and New Testaments. It is a very heavy and challenging read, but provided a new perspective on so many questions I had which would no doubt have been considered heretical a century ago and by some perhaps even today.

The case the author makes for reconsidering some of the theology overlaying or added later to the facts of Christ's death and how that theology has distorted His pure gift is compelling. While larger than that, in the Love of God vs. Fear of God continuum it stands comfortably on the side of Love. For me, it made all the pieces surrounding the crucifixion fit with no inconsistencies left outside.
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26 of 39 people found the following review helpful By David M. Placek on August 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
Weaver's work is certainly effective at focusing somewhat unique perspectives towards challenging the currently in vogue anselmian satisfaction theories of atonement. He certainly hits his mark of highlighting the degree to which satisfaction theories are tied to a particular cultural perspective and the particular time and position of the church in which they were formulated.

Unfortunately, a lot of his argumentation is not well established and seems speculative at times. In many respects his arguments agree with common sense thinking, but it would be nice to see more effort at correlating his assertions with the historical record to demonstrate the connections between the cultural shift and the theological shift which is so central to his thesis.

The other unfortunate aspect of this work is the limited interaction with scripture and real interaction with the texts which are mustered in support of satisfaction atonement. Appropriation of these texts to support traditional anselmian imagery may very well be more eisegetical than exegetical, but Weaver's analysis of these texts is somewhat shallow and not incredibly convincing. The base of scripture appropriated to support satisfaction atonement is undoubtedly one of the strengths of the view; any serious critique of the view must do a better job of addressing these texts head on. Weaver seems content to pick just a few passages, demonstrating that other interpetations are at least plausible, and rest there.

Certainly this book may be more engaging to a select audience. His attempt to bring pacifist, black, and feminist theologies to bear on the atonement question may be more interesting if one is already inclined towards or particularly interested in one of these perspectives.
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