Heythrop Journal 57 (6):37-43 (2016)

Authors
Thomas M. Ward
Baylor University
Abstract
The two most important concepts in Duns Scotus's theology of the Atonement are satisfaction and merit. Just what these amount to and how they function in his theory are heavily conditioned by two more general commitments: Scotus's voluntarism, which includes the claim that nearly all of God's relations with the created order are contingent; and his formulation of the Franciscan Thesis, which holds that fixing the sin problem is not the primary purpose of God's Incarnation in Christ and that if Adam hadn't sinned God would have become incarnate anyway. In this essay I will discuss this theoretical background of Scotus's atonement theology before moving on to discuss his understanding of merit and satisfaction, how these are related, and how they relate to the theoretical background. I will engage some important recent scholarly attempts to position Scotus's Atonement theology as not quite as anti-Anselmian as history has characterized it, arguing that one of these attributes to Scotus an understanding of merit which cannot be Scotus's in fact, since it entails a restriction on divine freedom that Scotus certainly would reject.
Keywords Anselm  Atonement  Duns Scotus  Voluntarism
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DOI 10.1111/heyj.12315
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