The crucifixion (Christian Poetry Series Book 1)
The Gospel was presumably written between the 14th and the 16th century. It contradicts the ministry of Jesus in canonical New Testament, but has clear parallels with the Islamic faith, by mentioning Muhammad as Messenger of God. It also strongly denies Pauline doctrine, and Jesus testified himself as a prophet, not the son of God. Marcion of Sinope , c. Marcion is said to have rejected all other gospels, including those of Matthew, Mark and especially John, which he allegedly rejected as having been forged by Irenaeus.
Marcion's critics alleged that he had edited out the portions he did not like from the then canonical version, though Marcion is said to have argued that his text was the more genuinely original one. A genre of " Infancy gospels " Greek: protoevangelion arose in the 2nd century, and includes the Gospel of James , which introduces the concept of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas not to be confused with the absolutely different sayings Gospel of Thomas , both of which related many miraculous incidents from the life of Mary and the childhood of Jesus that are not included in the canonical gospels.
Another genre is that of the gospel harmony , in which the four canonical gospels are combined into a single narrative, either to present a consistent text or to produce a more accessible account of Jesus' life. The oldest known harmony, the Diatessaron , was compiled by Tatian around , and may have been intended to replace the separate gospels as an authoritative text. It was accepted for liturgical purposes for as much as two centuries in Syria , but eventually developed a reputation as being heretical and was suppressed.
Subsequent harmonies were written with the more limited aim of being study guides or explanatory texts. They still use all the words and only the words of the four gospels, but the possibility of editorial error, and the loss of the individual viewpoints of the separate gospels, keeps the harmony from being canonical. Quotations related to Gospel at Wikiquote.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the written accounts of the life of Jesus. For the message of Christianity, the "Good News", see the gospel. For other uses, see Gospel disambiguation. Matthew Mark Luke John. Main articles: Matthew , Mark , Luke , and John. Main article: Development of the New Testament canon. Main article: New Testament apocrypha. Further information: Gnostic gospels.
The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ
Christianity portal. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar. The five gospels. Palo Alto: Mayfield. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. Kirkbride Bible Co. Cross, F. The Lost Christianities. See also Metzger at ; Gamble at 30— Books of the Bible. Catholic Orthodox. Letter of Baruch Psalms — Category Portal WikiProject Book. History of Christianity. Denominations List. Category Christianity portal. Language of Jesus. Bibliography Artworks statues Films.
Authority control NDL : First though, a negative. In the beginning of the book, Rutledge discusses the awfulness of the crucifixion. We cannot understand what the crucifixion means, without reckoning with how evil and shameful the actual event was. She mostly does a great job arguing that nothing in history is quite like the shame of the crucifixion.
Yet, her total ignorance of lynching during the Jim Crow era in American history stands out starkly. Admittedly, if I hadn't just read James Cone's The Cross and the Lynching Tree about a year ago, and if I wasn't rereading his God of the Oppressed with some friends right now, I probably wouldn't have noticed it.
But with Cone's work in mind, all i could think about was the absence of even a mention of lynching. It doesn't take away from her overall point, other than to make me wonder if her book could have been enriched by quoting a few less white theologians and preachers, and perhaps adding in more people of color.
For instance, later on when she referred to a few preachers from the s and their powerful words about the crucifixion, I couldn't help but wonder if they merely had good theology or if it flowed into how they treated oppressed people around them? Second then, the meat of the book is dedicated to analyzing 8 different motifs in scripture. Often when the atonement is spoken of, we hear about a few theories of atonement. She breaks these out into eight, and prefers motif rather than theory.
There is a lot here. What most stuck out to me was how she tied these motifs together. She notes that penal substitution is attacked nowadays and a good many writers question the morality of substitution. In its place, they prefer Christus Victor. Rutledge agrees that Christus Victor provides an over-arching schema and she agrees that some make penal substitution too all-encompassing or explain it poorly. But she warns against tossing it out. I agree wholeheartedly. Christus Victor is basically the idea that Jesus defeats Satan on the cross, freeing humanity from bondage.
Was this a battle we could win? Was not Jesus fighting for us, as our substitute? I think the brilliance of Rutledge's work is that she breaks out these eight motifs, but then shows how they all work together. I do wonder if the problem people have is not with substitution itself, but with the idea of a God who tortures people in hell for all eternity.
The idea of hell - what it is, how long it lasts - comes up throughout the book. Rutledge essentially says our options with hell are either that it and any who are in it cease to exist or all who are in it are redeemed. In other words, either annihilation or universalism: "At stake in this chapter is a concept of hell tha tis adequate to the horrors of the twentieth century and the looming terrors of the twenty-first. The argument here is that it is necessary to posit the existence of a metaphorical hell in order to acknowledge the reality and power of radical evil - evil that does not yield to education, reason, or good intentions.
Evil has an existence independent of the total of human misdeeds. The concept of hell takes seriously the nature and scale of evil. Without a concept of hell, Christian faith is sentimental and evasive, unable to stand up to reality in this world. Without an unflinching grasp of the radical nature of evil, Christian faith would be little more than wishful thinking. Hell is a dominion. It is the dominion of evil, of Death, the sphere where wickedness rules What then is the final destination of this realm? Christiaan Beker provocatively writes: 'The final apocalyptic triumph of God does not permit a permanent pocket of evil or resistance to God in his creation.
The reign of Satan will not be permitted to keep its territory as a permanent realm alongside the kingdom of God. It must be finally and completely obliterated, and will pass out of memory. It is toward this conclusion that our study has been pointing all along. Whether this means the redemption of the Hitlers and the Pol Pots or their annihilation we cannot say. What we can say for sure, proleptically, in faith, is that 'the kingdom of the world has become to the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.
For me, and any questions about substitution, it was not a problem with God punishing evil. Clearly, for God to be good requires God to name evil for what it is and expel it from creation. Punishment, even wrath, seems necessary. Or as Rutledge says, God's justice is righteousness; love and wrath are two sides of the same coin. The problem is when this justice becomes injustice, when people are tortured, suffering in pain, that never ends, for finite sin.
Rutledge, in that quote above, says we need hell but we also need either annihilation or universal redemption. This is what brought me to tears. What if any after-life punishment is not just vindictive and unending, but for the purpose of something better?
The Crucified Christ and other poems
Any decent parent doesn't punish their kids just because. The punishment always has a purpose. The purpose is to restore the child, to help them become better. What if God's love is so great that somehow, someway, all people experience the love and perhaps punishment they need to enable them to eventually be redeemed? Rutledge does not come out and endorse universalism as DB Hart does. But she implies it. Its this possibility that God's love never ends that moves me.
What if God pursues the lost sheep not just for a while, before closing the door and burning those on the outside? What if God pursues the lost sheep forever?
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I hear the objections now. Yet Rutledge emphasizes that we're all sinners. Who are we to judge? In this she pokes at her progressive mainline friends who claim to be inclusive. She points out no church is as inclusive as it claims. We all exclude someone. Its human nature. Human nature. But the God revealed in Jesus is so much better. There's certainly more I could say. Overall, this book is highly readable - she writes as a pastor and not a theologian. Its both intellectually challenging and emotionally moving. Its so Good!
I want to write a thoughtful review, but I fear I am incapable. The truth is I'm confused and don't know what to think. As I read the book I found myself at various points weeping and literally shouting out with joy while at other points I found myself incredibly frustrated. The weeping and joy was the result of the extreme-close up that the author gives us of the crucifixion in beautiful language. The frustration resulted from my feeling that the author often spend dozens of pages claiming to a I want to write a thoughtful review, but I fear I am incapable.
The frustration resulted from my feeling that the author often spend dozens of pages claiming to address a theme or answer a question that, in my mind, is never addressed thoroughly or answered clearly. In many places the book relies heavily on the testimony of church fathers and key thinkers throughout history. I would have preferred more interaction with the Scriptures and better defended conclusions.
Despite the frustration, I am glad I read it. I understand Christ and his crucifixion now better than I did before this book. I only wish the book would have reached its full potential. View 1 comment. Feb 28, Luke Evans rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fiction , theology. Well, this was a great book. It has been a while since I read anything that was at the same time so insightful and true in its distillation of what the gospel is all about and so infuriating in the things it missed. Rutledge is a great author who writes with clarity and passion. I deeply appreciate one of her primary insights - that the cross of Jesus has a multifaceted meaning in the NT.
Each element of the meaning of the cross should be appreciated and appropriated into our larger theological g Well, this was a great book. Each element of the meaning of the cross should be appreciated and appropriated into our larger theological grid. I think this is the best book I have read on that topic, other than Calvin and Bavinck. It was also good for me to read someone that is a good bit left of me theologically.
The best of the best
She comes from a different world entirely mainline Protestantism and so just hearing the sources she quoted, etc. The overlap in her insights and the insights of some of the best biblical theologians in the evangelical camp was encouraging. The most infuriating part of the book is her tendency towards universalism. Whereas she is typically quite clear, she was atypically fuzzy on this topic, but the last chapter seemed to me to be leading in a clear direction. I really appreciate her thoughts on the "great assize" and the wrath of God - they are worth deep reflection.
But I cannot escape the simple fact that she chooses selectively which biblical texts to use for her argument, and ignores the ones that clearly oppose her prior held conclusions. So, read this charitably and read it thoughtfully. But is is unquestionably worth reading. Jun 19, Steve rated it really liked it. This theological text immerses the reader in a theology of the cross that contradicts a lot of easy, safe readings of the crucifixion in our churches and our culture. While it's theologically dense and rich with fully engrossing footnotes on every page, I might add , Rutledge keeps it all very accessible and readable and her mainline liturgical tradition she's Episcopal offers insights that many in the evangelical churches would benefit from.
It's hard to do justice to the scope of her argument, but a few significant highlights would be what Rutledge refers to as the "godforsakenness" and "irregiousness" of the cross. As she quotes Bonhoeffer, "God lets himself be pushed out of the world on to the cross. Connected to this emphasis on the utter severity of the sin being atoned for on the cross, Rutledge regularly makes use of apocalyptic theology revealed from a sphere outside the realm of human affairs , which she defines "on the simplest level as the thought-world that emerged among the Hebrew people after the exile, in which the human situation is seen as so tragic and insoluble that the only hope for deliverance is from outside this sphere altogether" In other words, the "Powers" of Sin, Death, and Law enslave humanity to such a degree that God in his grace pushes his people to the point at which they realize that righteousness and salvation can not be achieved by individual efforts, even by God's people, and that divine agency is absolutely necessary.
My Reformed sensibilities really resonated with this idea of God as primary actor in our salvation. Yet this emphasis on rectification, which forms a thread throughout, will also likely make many conservative evangelical readers a bit nervous for a few reasons. First, it permits her to translate God's wrath which has turned many away from desiring to follow God into wrath against all that has disrupted his plans and the order of his creation, specifically those spiritually transcendent Powers of Sin and Death. As a result, "God's punitive actions are [always] in the service of his salvation" She also makes use of Romans to hint at the possibility that all may be eventually saved.
Indeed, one whole chapter argues that Christ descended into hell to preach to and save those who had died "in sin" and not just those who lived by faith before he came to earth i. Again, fair warning to any Christian readers from more literal faith traditions: Rutledge does not believe in a historical Adam Adam is essentially just a metaphor for fallen humanity and she's really antagonistic towards the notion of substitutionary atonement as a kind of penal satisfaction, which she feels has been too abused as an all-encompassing theory of the crucifixion throughout history, and has placed too much attention on God's wrath towards the individual.
But I do appreciate how she answers the objections that many have regarding Christ's death as a form of "divine child abuse," always foregrounding the assent and mutual decision of the members of the Trinity, each of which cooperated and participated in bringing about our redemption. So long as you read with discernment, there's a lot here to chew on for the building of your faith!
Mar 11, Glenn Crouch rated it it was amazing Shelves: theology. I thoroughly enjoyed this book - in fact more than I expected. Given that this is a scholarly book and I hadn't read anything by this Author though I had heard a podcast of a couple of her talks , I was pleasantly surprised by how easy I found this to read, and how inspiring I found many of the Authors arguments.
Whilst I have many different understandings than the Author, these were normally in side issues - and didn't affect her passion for the Gospel. I found her argument for Justice to be qu I thoroughly enjoyed this book - in fact more than I expected. I found her argument for Justice to be quite refreshing, especially given that it wasn't at the expense of Grace and Mercy. I also appreciated her emphasis on the obscene and horrific nature of the Crucifixion - which I agree we should be reminded of. Always good when a book gives you much to think about.
I am also appreciative that the Author has renewed in me an appreciation of Anslem of Canterbury. I was introduced to him almost 30 years ago - but now realised that I my admiration had slowly diminished over time, and that I had completely lost what Anslem had meant by "Satisfaction". The Author's handling of Anslem - and in using his arguments in a foundational way - was refreshing - and it was like getting an old friend back again : As noted, this book is quite scholarly and of decent length, so I would not recommend it to all.
Apr 19, Jeremy rated it it was amazing. Easily one of the most impactful books I've ever read. It changed the way I look at the cross, what it means for us and what happened on it. It changed the way I think about theology, how it works and what it can do for us. It changed the way I look at Scripture, realizing how much more we can see when we see Scripture as a work of literature. I feel like my whole life I was looking at all these things through a pinhole, and only now because of the amazing imagination and faithfulness of Rutled Easily one of the most impactful books I've ever read.
I feel like my whole life I was looking at all these things through a pinhole, and only now because of the amazing imagination and faithfulness of Rutledge am I able to see the whole picture, able to see connections I never knew existed, able to more fully appreciate the depth and breadth of the Church's witness regarding the cross.
Very, very grateful for this book. May 21, Alex rated it really liked it. I don't want to add to much to the high praises, but I will say that part one, exploring the physical and social aspects of the crucifixion, as well as the chapter on the descent into Hell were well alone worth the price of the book. Apr 08, Luke rated it it was amazing. Possibly the book I've read in the past three years which is most likely to affect my theology and speaking going forward.
Recommended to anyone with a bit of background in theology who is involved in communication about the Christian faith to others inside or outside the church.
Cento Vergilianus de laudibus Christi - Wikipedia
If one approaches religion as an anthropologist would—that is, if one views religion as a system of belief and practice designed to produce social cohesion and psychological comfort—it becomes baffling to consider that more than a billion followers of perhaps the most sophisticated and successful religious tradition in history worship a crucified man as God incarnate; and that some of them even wear the instrument of his execution as jewelry. Jesus is crucified under a black sky; his skin has taken on the gray-green hue of a corpse; the fingers of his impaled hands claw at the air; his muscles are taut, his entire body wracked by pain; thick blood runs from his wounds; his flesh is punctured all over by wooden splinters.
John the Baptist stands beside him, pointing; an odd choice by the artist, since John had already met his end before the crucifixion. The crucifixion of the Son of God seems like a cosmic train wreck. Why did it happen? What did it accomplish? According to this understanding, Jesus was made to suffer to appease the wrath of an angry God; a cruel and vindictive God who needed the blood of an innocent man so that humanity as a whole might be spared.
But this is a misunderstanding of the Christian God. If we understand God as Trinity, the notion that one Person of this Trinity would stand in opposition to another—blunting the force of His rage to shield the rest of us from it, like a soldier throwing himself on a grenade—becomes untenable. The rectifying death of the Son was an act of God; not humanity, and not Jesus as a man separated from the divine nature.
God did not sacrifice his Son; God became incarnate in the Son, and it was God who died as a rebel and a blasphemer. The story is shot through with paradox. God suffers a godless death. To die by crucifixion in Roman Palestine was to die as a nonentity. Condemned by the religious and secular authorities alike, left naked on a cross outside the city walls, crucifixion was more than just an execution; it was a collective casting out of the victim, a severing of all his ties with community and civilization.
A crucified Jew was no longer a Jew; indeed, he was no longer anything. It was the death of a feral animal. Somehow, by allowing Himself to be subjected to death, the final consequence of sin, God defeated and dethroned it, because nothing in creation can withstand His presence. Strikingly, Paul says that Jesus became sin , and in so doing, abolished its power over human life. She demonstrates the explanatory power of each interpretation, while always remaining vigilant about how each interpretation can lead to misunderstandings if it is adhered to militantly, at the exclusion of the others, instead of allowing the perspectives to be mutually informative.
The underlying theme from which she does not stray is the agency of God. Too often the Christian story is portrayed as a sloppy divine clean-up operation following the botched experiment at the Garden of Eden. In our time, the Penal Substitution model has largely fallen out of favor. People find it disturbing—even barbaric; the notion that Christ died in our place , exchanging his life for ours.
Many Christians are simply uncomfortable with talk of sin. They want a religion of uplift and perpetual forgiveness; not one of condemnation or an obsession with human folly. Even while she recognizes its faults, Rutledge defends the substitutionary view brilliantly. She devotes a chapter to rehabilitating Anselm of Canterbury, thought to be the father of Penal Substitution; and to a lesser extent, she even rehabilitates that rascal John Calvin, showing him to be perhaps not as Calvinistic as it would appear at first glance.
The two models reflect two understandings of Sin. Paul spoke of Sin as a Power keeping humanity in captivity, separated from the life of God, and as those actions people commit which do not align with the divine will. Sin is both a demonic force wielding the Law as a club, unimpeded by human resistance, and a human transgression. Reconciling His human and divine wills at Gethsemane, He allows himself to be swallowed up by death in order to defeat the enemy on its own turf.
Christ is the conqueror of Hell, winning the decisive battle of an apocalyptic war for the fate of humanity. It is a liberation from collective guilt and condemnation. As Rutledge points out, it is interesting that many Christians today consider this image of the cross a less violent alternative to the image of Penal Substitution. Throughout Christian history, the image of Christ as a conquering hero defeating the forces of evil and binding them in chains has lent itself quite easily to a crusading mentality. Whereas Christus Victor takes a collectivist view by portraying the defeat of Sin as a power that controls everyone, Penal Substitution has a more individualist bent, focusing on the role of our flawed human agency in contributing to the fallenness of the world.
While Christus Victor offers us mutual release, Penal Substitution reminds us of our personal culpability. The collective, apocalyptic view lends itself easily to our age of culture wars, hyperpartisan politics, and identitarian struggle. I am in full agreement with Rutledge about the need for its revival. In the chapter on Substitution, Rutledge offers an illuminating analysis of Karl Barth. Barth not only produced a compelling defense of the Substitutionary model; he also seems to have made a significant gesture towards painting a picture of how the two models can complement each other.
According to Barth, Christ not only substituted Himself for man in bearing the consequence of sin; He also disempowered and replaced man as the judge of the world. In Adam, we judge the world in our own self-serving manner, making ourselves into innocent victims and others into evil offenders. When Christ substituted Himself for us, He became the judge, justifying us even as he relieves us from the folly of justifying ourselves. Sep 19, Sooho Lee rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , theology , biblical-studies , important-reads. This book is phenomenal.
There have been very few books that I have come across where from cover to cover it has been rejuvenating, refreshing, and powerful. Formerly, Rutledge has worked on this manuscript for 18 years, but really it is the fruit of a life-long wrestle with the cross of the Crucified Lord. What follows is a sorrowfully short sketch; the present writer, instead, hopes the present reader you will just buy and read it.
After a long list of endorsement from significant theologians of our time, Rutledge begins. The book is divided into two unequal halves: 1 socio-historical and literary analysis of the event of Jesus' crucifixion and 2 biblical motifs of the crucifixion. In short, apocalyptic interpretation argues that starting during Babylonian exile or some time later , there arose an insistence that the God of Israel is "breaking into" the world in new "revelatory" apocalyptic ways that expose and destroy the cosmic forces of Evil and Sin -- the apex being the crucifixion -- and, thus, execute and establish justice through the dikaiosyne theou "righteousness of God".
The foremost apocalyptic forerunner was none other than Apostle Paul. The "precious blood" of the Son of God is the perfect sacrifice for sin; the ransom is paid to deliver the captives; the gates of hell are stormed; the Red Sea is crossed and the enemy drowned; God's judgment has been executed upon Sin; the disobedience of Adam is recapitulated in the obedience of Christ; a new creation is coming into being; those who put their trust in Christ are incorporated into his life; the kingdoms of "the present evil age" are passing away and the promised kingdom of God is manifest not in triumphalist crusades, but in the cruciform witness of the church.
From within "Adam's" our human flesh, the incarnate Son fought with and was victorious over Satan -- on our behalf and in our place. This is what the righteousness of God has achieved through the cross and resurrection, is now accomplishing by the power of the Spirit, and will complete in the day of Christ Jesus" May 02, Ian Caveny rated it it was amazing Shelves: masterworks , theology. Suffice to say, my only decent response upon completing this magisterial but certainly not austere!
By investigating the images not theories of the crucifixion of Christ and the nature of His atoning work in context with those images, Rev. Fleming Rutledge has provided for the Church a powerful, prophetic reminder of the supernatural and glorious work of our God. Beyond that paltry and Suffice to say, my only decent response upon completing this magisterial but certainly not austere!
Beyond that paltry and so little! It is simply one of the greatest books I have ever read, and I feel that should speak for itself. Oct 07, marylyn rated it it was amazing. Apr 23, BJ rated it it was amazing. This book'll preach. Rutledge's religion-shattering focus on the dehumanizing death of Jesus for the rectification of the ungodly and the disarming of the powers of Satan, Sin, and Death is needed in this sentimental age filled with gnostic spirituality. Most importantly, her rehearsing of the gospel message is desperately needed for broken people like me.
She is just to the left of me theologically, but there is such wonderful insight and power in these pages that the interpretive places I d This book'll preach. She is just to the left of me theologically, but there is such wonderful insight and power in these pages that the interpretive places I do not follow her on I'm affected by. Penetrating and soul-stirring. Nov 17, Con rated it it was amazing. Fleming Rutledge reveals what every single human needs to know to live in peace with themselves, others and the Divine.
The best comprehensive book on living and giving grace on the market! Aug 13, Sam McCabe rated it it was amazing. This is one of the most all encompassing, well written, thoughtful books I've ever read. Anyone who is serious about studying the Cross would find this book invaluable. Highly recommend.
Jun 26, Mike Print rated it really liked it. Aug 14, Derek Winterburn rated it really liked it Shelves: theology. This a great book - great in size, conception and scope. However it could have been so much better by being sharper and clearer. It has the air of being the fruit of much reading, thinking and preaching- but sometimes like in preaching less is more.
This is very obviously case in the use of footnotes. It would be a lesser experience not to read Rutledge's acerbic asides - one glimpses who her heroes and villains are - but reading them disturbs the flow.
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She writes as someone who values her own e This a great book - great in size, conception and scope. She writes as someone who values her own education referring to her handwritten notes of lectures and the tradition she has been raised in. Although fluent in discussing civil rights, feminism and other modern issues, Rutledge often laments what has been lost in the liberal mainstream American denominations in their efforts to witness to 21st century society.
She wants to uphold and honour good tradition. Although Sin as a power comes through m more strongly through the book and personal sin less and less. This is another favourite theme. While it is true in general — part of her particular approach is continue to apply this to all humans, without respect to faith. So at the final judgement there is no difference in kind between Christians and non-Christians, we are all ungodly.
The academic who stands behind this aspect of the book is J Louis Martyn who taught Rutledge. A point made several times in the book is that there are not two 'actors' on the earthly stage humanity and God but three including the Enemy. But being a big book, it is hard to see the word for the trees. This must have been recognised for one chapter The Descent into Hell is even provided with an outline. The chapters are broken up with subheadings, but there should have been a clearer hierarchy of organisation.
One particular shortcoming is the author's habit of articulating a question that might arise in the reader's mind but then never giving as clear an answer. This is particularly frustrating in the case of the salvation of non-Christians. Through the book hints are dropped that the final chapter will set out reasons for universalism. The chapter seems to be arguing that everyone is ungodly, and that we can only ever be saved by God's gracious putting 'everything right'.
Christ's death by various ways and means opens the way for God to do that for all humanity. The weight of this 'rectification' seems to be in the future, with some sort of refining, purgation. The vast majority of humanity will be transfigured, only the 'unrepentant monsters', who have ceased to be human will be annihilated. So what of faith? First Rutledge articulates the question with great power 'What does it mean to believe in Christ? There is ample evidence in the NT that Jesus himself requires personal commitment from all who would be saved by him If the wonder and miracle of faith in Christ is dismissed as unnecessary and unimportant, then the dynamic, outgoing, evangelistic pulse of the gospel is negated, and Christianity becomes a feeble shadow of itself.
In conclusion this is a book well worth reading and puzzling over.