Why God Became a Man
A Conversation with Anselm's Cur Deus Homo
by Tami Jelinek
Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109), sometimes called “The Father of Scholasticism,” was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 until his death. This paper converses with his work Cur Deus Homo (lit. “Why the God-Man?”), which scholars have paralleled with Romans 3, and specifically Paul’s view of the atonement as “satisfaction” (Gr. Hilasterion). Part one of this paper examines Anselm’s arguments in light of the text of Romans 3, and considers whether Anselm was faithful to Paul. Part two examines Anselm’s view of sin, humanity’s responsibility for sin, and how Christ’s sacrifice overcomes sin by making satisfaction to God. Part three discusses some of the strengths and weaknesses of Anselm’s arguments; and part four critiques Anselm with attention toward the biblical, logical and pastoral implications of his theology as presented in Cur Deus Homo.
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