Without denying the importance of Anselm's treatise & the sharpness of his
analysis, it's also important to realize that his understanding of the
atonement is strongly influenced by elements of the feudal culture of his
time. The whole idea of having to "make satisfaction" for the violation of
God's honor made a great deal of sense in the 11th century but it doesn't for
us today &, more importantly, it is far from being the predominant biblical
In addition, Anselm tacitly assumed, with much of the tradition, that the
Incarnation was necessary only because of sin, and that it wouldn't have
happened in sin had not entered the world. But that is far from obvious, as
George L. Murphy
"The Science-Theology Interface"
gordon brown wrote:
> The classical treatise on the incarnation, which has been most influential
> in the past millennium, is Anselm's "Cur Deus Homo?". It emphasizes the
> need for satisfaction, that the punishment for our sins must indeed occur
> even if someone else takes our place.
> Gordon Brown
> Department of Mathematics
> University of Colorado
> Boulder, CO 80309-0395
> On Wed, 17 Jul 2002, Walter Hicks wrote:
> > Unrelated to that, I have often wondered (as many others have): ¦Why the
> > incarnation?"
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