“Violence, Atonement, and Retributive Justice: Bonhoeffer as a Test Case”

Bibliographic information:

Burkholder, Benjamin J. “Violence, Atonement, and Retributive Justice: Bonhoeffer as a Test Case.” Modern Theology 33, no. 3 (2017): 395-413.


Recent soteriological discourse has worried that atonement theologies like satisfaction and penal substitution have potentially damaging effects like inoculating us to our violence, further buttressing retributive justice, and inducing passive acquiescence in the face of abuse. Though legitimate concerns in their own right, this essay investigates whether certain views on the atonement do in fact produce the issues of concern. By investigating the thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who believed that God had to punish sin, this article will seek to identify the complex nuances in Bonhoeffer’s work that would potentially safeguard against some of the concerns being raised about atonement theologies like his.


Modern Theology (website: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/moth.12336/full)

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