Narrative and Atonement: The Ministry of Reconciliation in the Work of James H. Cone

Religions 13 (10):985 (2022)
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Contemporary analytic theological discussions of atonement do not attend extensively to questions of how narrative might relate to the atoning work of Christ. Liberation theologians, on the other hand, utilize narrative in their scholarly method regularly and often employ it when discussing atonement or reconciliation. This essay argues that analytic theologians should consider the notion of narrative (and narrative identity) as a mechanism of atonement in the broad sense of the term introduced when William Tyndale coined ‘atonement’ to translate 2 Corinthians 5. I then offer some psychological grounds for thinking that reframing one’s self-narrative in terms of a transcendent narrative is often conducive to human flourishing, and I consider the work of James H. Cone as an instance of such transcendent narrative reframing at work.

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Jonathan Rutledge
Harvard University


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