Jews and the Passion

Powerful Essays
For Christianity, the 12th century represented a century of both internal and external changes. While the crusades sought to impose a “universalized Christian faith” on those outside of the religion, the internal mechanisms of the Church began to promote reformations that encouraged a unification of the “doctrine, liturgy, piety and politics within Western Christendom”. During this century, Christians began to experience a cohesive and sacred community. Anselm of Canterbury and Peter Abelard made theological advancements that allowed for the unification of the Church – and for a drastic change in Jewish-Christian relations. Their theories of atonement began to shape the way in which Christian’s approached Jews in the questions of God. While Anselm’s satisfaction theory of atonement began to promote an appeal to reason among Christians towards Jews, Abelard’s moral influence theory of atonement had the potential on encouraging religious tolerance. Due to the political climate of this time, Anselm’s theory took hold and became the prominent theological arguments against Jews.

To understand the significance that the evolution of the theory of atonement has had on Christian-Jewish relations, it must first be understood what the theory of atonement implies in Christian practice. As Linwood Urban explains, the doctrine of atonement or restitution is:

“…the primary response of God to the problem of evil. It states that the unification of the world with God’s plan for it will bring about the eventual conquest of suffering and evil, if not in this world, at least in the world to come.”

The fall of mankind with Adam and Eve caused an imbalance in the relations between God and mankind. To achieve salvation, this inequity had ...

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...Alister, McGrath. Christian Theology: An Introduction, 2nd ed. (Blackwell, 1997): 407-408.


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