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Faith and Philosophy

Volume 37, Issue 4, October 2020

Joshua Thurow, Jada Twedt Strabbing
Pages 516-535

Entwining Thomistic and Anselmian Interpretations of the Atonement

In Atonement, Eleonore Stump develops a novel and compelling Thomistic account of the atonement and argues that Anselmian interpretations must be rejected. In this review essay, after summarizing her account, we raise wor­ries about some aspects of it. First, we respond to her primary objection to Anselmian interpretations by arguing that, contrary to Stump, love does not require unilateral and unconditional forgiveness. Second, we suggest that the heart of Anselmian interpretations—that reconciliation with God requires rep­aration/restitution/satisfaction—is plausible and well-supported by some of her own arguments. Third, we raise doubts about her views of the role of sur­render in justification and the nature of justification itself. Finally, we question whether Stump’s account can successfully explain how the atonement deals with pre-justification sin. A central theme of our comments is that Stump’s Thomistic interpretation can be entwined with Anselmian interpretations to make a stronger account of the atonement.

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