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Original Sin: Illuminating the Riddle (New Studies in Biblical Theology) Paperback – November 2, 2000

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Blocher, who teaches systematic theology at the Faculte Libre de Theologie Evangelique, Vaux-sur-Seine, France, approaches original sin as a riddle. As he sees it, the riddle arises not so much from original sin as from the widespread denial of the concept in a century marked by unprecedented violence and cruelty. After a general survey of biblical material, Blocher turns to Paul's discussion in Romans 5 of the relationship between Christ and Adam. He contends that a close reading of the fall of Adam does not bear the interpretation that Adam's sin and guilt were transferred to later generations. Rather, he asserts, the freedom of Adam's will to choose evil represents "an inborn state" that results in alienation from God. Freedom of the will is part of the human condition and that freedom entails a hereditary separation from God. However, Blocher sees this state as a "gate of hope" that opens humanity to compassion rather than despair. "Recognizing our radical separation from God and our potentail to choose evil should lead not to condemnation but to compassion." says Blocher. His account of original sin goes far in rehabilitating the doctrine of original sin from its traditionally negative associations.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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"Blocher's short and pungent book addresses the central issues [of original sin] in an imaginative and constructive way. . . . Much wisdom is compressed into these pages along with a gentleness of touch that belies the weightiness of the subject." (The Expository Times)

"Henri Blocher . . . is able to think through the interlocking contributions of historical theology, biblical theology and systematic theology, and come to fresh conclusions in the light of Scripture, without overturning all that is valuable from the past. . . . This is a book to be read and thought through with great care." (D. A. Carson (from the series preface))
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Product Details

  • Series: New Studies in Biblical Theology (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 158 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic; 2nd edition (November 2, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 083082605X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830826056
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #839,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Friends who attended the lectures from which this book was written recommended it to me, and I'm glad they did. Original sin is and, as Blocher points out, has long been a controversial part of church teaching. While we might recognise that many evil deeds take place in our world, we are often reticent to label people as sinful from birth. If we are to do that, the way in which our sinful nature might be passed on is also difficult to fathom. Blocher begins with both a philosophical and a scriptural overview of the doctrine, before focussing in on the Genesis narrative and then Romans 5, the passages which, he argues, have most to say on the subject. He then moves back out to look at evil in the world and the way that the doctrine of original sin sheds light on the human predicament. This leads into a discussion of the transmission of the sinful nature and the proper response to the recognition of it. Blocher's work is obviously scholarly, yet a surprisingly easy read despite that. His `take' on Romans 5 requires more thought on behalf of this reader, but seems both convincing and helpful. Best of all, it encourages us to look again at the doctrine of original sin, while remaining focussed on the necessity for repentance and focus upon the work of Christ in the Christian life. This is a book well worth having in the library of a thinking Christian.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book in conjunction with John Murray's book, The Imputation of Adam's Sin. I believe Blocher's book to be the stronger and more convincing of the two since Murray's work is older and is only designed to account for the classic Reformed position. The strength of Blocher's work lies in the fact that it attempts to discuss multiple treatments on the issue of original sin, and give the strengths and weaknesses of each side. I also believe, like Blocher, that a correct understanding of original sin is vital to a correct understanding of the human condition, our sinfulness, and our need for salvation and redemption.
The chapter I enjoyed the most was Blocher's treatment of Romans 5. He believes that there are two main schools of thought that have attempted to understand this passage. One school, that of a looser interpretation, likes to be very flexible in how it views Adam's relation to Christ's. The other school, that of a stricter interpretation, likes to view Adam's relation to Christ as extremely similar. Blocher says the school of looser interpretation is more Pelagian, while the school of strict interpretation is more Augustinian in it's mindset.
I believe that Blocher deals fairly with both sides assessing their respective strengths and weaknesses. When it comes to the school of a looser interpretation, Blocher notes that they are staunch defenders of individual responsibility for sin, and recognize the disatrous consequeces that can occur when one believes in inherited guilt(for instance Augustine's insistence that unbaptized children are damned to hell because they are born guilty).
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By bneary on September 1, 2013
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This book is a great theological study, but it is not for the average reader. IT has a lot of technical wordings that an average student would not be able to read without a good collegiate dictionary. The author does a lot of comparison teaching with other hermeneutical interpreters on Genesis2-3 and Romans 5. I would only recommend this particular book for the serious student of working toward their doctorate in theology. At times this author debates the interpretation of others rather than give his own interpretation of sin. It isn't an extremely long book, but it will take one's concentration to follow some of his rhetoric and thoughts.
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Henri Blocher takes on the most difficult topic in theology and philosophy. He is economical with words as he develops his arguments.
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By G. Massa on January 23, 2016
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thanks
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