What did the Cross Accomplish? A conversation about the atonement by N. T. Wright, S. Gathercole, and R. B. Steward (WJK, £20 (£18); 978-0-664-26587-8).
“In this book, readers will enjoy a fascinating and cordial discussion between N. T. Wright and Simon Gathercole on the meaning and nature of the doctrine of atonement. These two highly respected scholars discuss in clear and understandable language the meanings of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Their discussion explores various theories of atonement and looks closely at the Old Testament to discover Paul's meaning of his words that ‘Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.’
“Wright presents his case first, then Gathercole responds with a contrary point of view. Their discussion confronts questions including: What exactly is this ‘scandal of the cross’? What role does the notion of sacrifice, as understood in its ancient context, play in the atonement of Christ? Is the atonement a ‘victory’? How so? Was Christ a ‘substitute’, taking humankind’s place on the cross and suffering the death and judgment that sinners deserve? How does the death of Christ on the cross rescue or liberate sinners from death? Does the cross achieve benefits for only humans, or do those benefits extend to the entirety of creation?
“This book is a succinct conversation in which all these questions receive attention, with nuanced differences between the two interlocutors. This conversation along with Robert Stewart’s introductory framework make this book an excellent primer to the study of the atonement, and readers will come away with a deeper understanding of the meanings of the cross.”
The Cambridge Companion to the Council of Nicaea, edited by Y. R. Kim (CUP, £28.99 (£26.09); 978-1-108-44811-6).
“Every Sunday, Christians all over the world recite the Nicene Creed as a confession of faith. While most do not know the details of the controversy that led to its composition, they are aware that the Council of Nicaea was a critical moment in the history of Christianity. For scholars, the Council has long been a subject of multi-disciplinary interest and continues to fascinate and inspire research. As we approach the 1700th anniversary of the Council, The Cambridge Companion to the Council of Nicaea provides an opportunity to revisit and reflect on old discussions, propose new approaches and interpretative frameworks, and ultimately revitalise a conversation that remains as important now as it was in the fourth century. The volume offers fifteen original studies by scholars who each examine an aspect of the Council. Informed by interdisciplinary approaches, the essays demonstrate its profound legacy with fresh, sometimes provocative, but always intellectually rich ideas.”
The Cambridge Companion to the Hebrew Bible and Ethics, edited by C. L. Crouch (CUP, £26.99 (£24.29); 978-1-108-46151-1).
“The Cambridge Companion to the Hebrew Bible and Ethics offers an engaging and informative response to a wide range of ethical issues. Drawing connections between ancient and contemporary ethical problems, the essays address a variety of topics, including student-loan debt, criminal-justice reform, ethnicity and inclusion, family systems, and military violence. The volume emphasises the contextual nature of ethical reflection, stressing the importance of historical knowledge and understanding in illuminating the concerns, the logic, and the intentions of the biblical texts. Twenty essays, all specially commissioned for this volume, address the texts’ historical and literary contexts and identify key social, political, and cultural factors affecting their ethical ideas. They also explore how these texts can contribute to contemporary ethical discussions. The Cambridge Companion to the Hebrew Bible and Ethics is suitable for use in undergraduate and graduate courses in liberal arts colleges and universities, as well as seminaries.”
Selected by Aude Pasquier, of the Church House Bookshop, which operates the Church Times Bookshop.