We live in a world shot through with evil. The twentieth century has witnessed suffering and human cruelty on a scale never before imagined. Yet, paradoxically, in recent years the doctrine of original sin has suffered neglect and ridicule.
In this philosophically sophisticated treatment of the biblical evidence for original sin, Henri Blocher offers a robust response. Interacting with the best theological thinking on the subject, this New Studies in Biblical Theology volume shows that while the nature of original sin is a mystery—even a riddle—only belief in it makes sense of evil and wrongdoing.
After a general survey of the biblical evidence, Blocher moves on to discuss the two key texts. First, he considers the relation of the Eden story of Genesis 2 and 3 to modern scientific, literary and theological thinking. Then, he offers a new and groundbreaking interpretation of Romans 5, where Paul discusses Christ and Adam. From this exegetical foundation, he goes on to show how the doctrine of original sin makes sense of the paradoxes of human existence. In the final chapter, he discusses the intellectual difficulties that some feel remain with the doctrine itself.
1. Original Sin as Taught in Holy Scripture
2. Original Sin as Adamic Event
The Eden Story and Palaeo-anthropology
The Eden Story and Biblical Inter-textuality
The Eden Story and Literary Discernment
The Eden Story and Theological Reflection
3. Discerning Paul's Mind on Adam's Role
Looser Interpretations of Romans 5
Tighter Interpretations of Romans 5
Untying the Knot? A New Interpretation
4. Original Sin as a Key to Human Experience
Misery and Royal Descent
Shared Inheritance and the Individual Decision
Necessity and Responsiblity
5. Original Sin as Propagated and Broken
No Refuge in Unreason
A Gate of Hope
Index of Authors
Index of Scripture References
Index of References to Apocryphal and Other Ancient Sources
Index of Subjects