Stump on the Nature of Atonement

In “The Nature of the Atonement”, Eleonore Stump explores the problem of human sin that the atonement is meant to solve, helpfully uncovering important adequacy conditions for theories of atonement. She then uses those conditions to critically evaluate Anselmian and Thomistic theories of atonement, arguing (among many other interesting things) that the Thomist has a leg up on the Anselmian when it comes to the atonement-motivating problem of human sin (pp.11-12 of ms.). I argue for two claims in what follows. First, Stump’s two seemingly independent “further problems” for theorists of atonement (discussed in the penultimate section of her paper) in fact reduce to a single challenge, which suggests a strategy for future theorizing about the atonement. Second, Stump’s case that the Thomist outperforms the Anselmian on the problem of human sin is weaker than it initially appears. As we’ll see, Stump’s own account of shame implies that the Anselmian’s difficulties on this front are less serious than she thinks
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