17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Crooked deep down.,
This review is from: Original Sin: A Cultural History (Hardcover)
What makes this book unique is that it is a "cultural history" of original sin, not a work of theology (though, obviously, it does engage with some theological work, particularly Augustine's). It is "an exemplary history - so-called not because it embodies excellence that other historians would do well to imitate, but because it makes its case through examples. ... [It] emphasizes narratives about people, people who engage in a serious and thoughtful way with the idea of original sin - whether by embracing it, rejecting it, or wrestling with the possibility of it" (p.xviii).
It is a engaging book. It doesn't answer all the questions I have about original sin as a doctrine but it's hardly fair to criticize it for that since that is not its purpose. What makes it so useful is its examination of how the doctrine has influenced literature, philosophy, politics - in short, how it has influenced Western culture.