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The Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation.

The Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation. By Adam Kotsko. New York: T&T Clark, 2010. ISBN ISBN
International Standard Book Number

ISBN International Standard Book Number

ISBN n abbr (= International Standard Book Number) → ISBN m 
: 978-0-5671-8566-2. 224 pages. Paper. $34.95.

The past decade has experienced a proliferation of texts addressing the theological, social, and ethical implications of our understanding of the atonement. In this text, Adam Kotsko engages on a scholarly yet accessible level with an impressively broad range of Christian thinkers in order to blend traditional Patristic pa·tris·tic   also pa·tris·ti·cal
Of or relating to the fathers of the early Christian church or their writings.

 readings of the atonement with contemporary concerns which have been largely shaped by liberation and political theology. By virtue of the sheer number of thinkers with whom he engages, Kotsko's argument is logically complex; however, his argument coheres and is worthy of thoughtful reading.

The heart of his project is to ask what the atonement says about the ontological structure of all creation, particularly of human beings. One of Kotsko's key concerns is to call into question the validity of any understanding of the atonement that renders divine violence and exclusion necessary. He methodically explores the development of the tradition's various atonement theories to suggest that redemption can only be properly understood as a social and political event, encompassing all of creation. Much of his argument hinges upon his allegorization al·le·go·rize  
v. al·le·go·rized, al·le·go·riz·ing, al·le·go·riz·es
1. To express as or in the form of an allegory:
 of the devil as fallen political power and upon his understanding of sin, which he sees as the necessary possibility of freedom.

Though I am deeply sympathetic to Kotsko's desire to explicate the atonement in terms that are both non-violent in nature and universal in scope, I am unsure whose work Kotsko understands redemption to be. "Christ's wager was that this world can still attain to that purpose [the purpose for which Christ became incarnate]. Whether that will have been the case is now for us to determine, together." (206) However, Kotsko has written a book that is both readable and thought-provoking. It is a welcome contribution to the on-going discussion of a key--if thorny--theological and ethical question.

Mindy Makant

Duke Divinity School The Divinity School at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina is one of thirteen seminaries founded and supported by the United Methodist Church. It has 39 full time and 18 part time faculty and over 500 full time students.  
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Author:Makant, Mindy
Publication:Currents in Theology and Mission
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2012
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