Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Why did God become a man?: an Amazon review

My review of Cur Deus Homo, by St. Anselm, translated (1903) by Sidney Norton Deane.

"The scandal of Christianity is that God -- the Almighty God who created all that is seen and unseen -- became a man. Specifically, He became a male Palestinian who lived on earth from around 4 B.C. to around 29-30 A.D. A man who was born of a woman, who was hungry, thirsty, sleepy, tired -- everything that we do -- but without sin.

And that man who at the same time God suffered for us under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried and rose from the dead on the third day.

All of this is affirmed by orthodox Christians. The question that has been asked -- and which this book seeks to answer -- is not, "Did this all happen?," but "Why did God become man?" St. Anselm's discussion is the classic discussion of western theories of the Atonement.

A little baffling is the paucity of scripture in this book, but St. Anselm is trying to answer the question by use of reason, in the form of a dialog.

This particular translation was completed in 1903 and this is a reprint of that translation which has been out of print for some time. It's a good reprint, easy to read (the book is surprisingly short for as influential as it has been) and well-bound. The publisher has done good for all Christians by providing this printing of this book. While not simple reading, this book is not difficult for educated Christians -- lay or clergy -- to read and ponder."

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