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Gravity of Sin

Author(s): Matt Jenson

ISBN13: 9780567031389

ISBN10: 0567031381


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  • This book looks at the influential metaphor of describing sin as homo incurvatus in se (humanity being curved in on oneself) from its origins in Augustine to Luther, Barth and Feminist theology. Matt Jenson argues that the image of being curved in on oneself is the best paradigm for understanding sin relationally, that it has sufficient explanatory breadth and depth to be of service to contemporary Christian theology. He looks to Augustine as the Christian source for this image in his various references to humanitys turn to itself, though the threads of a relational account of sin are not drawn together with any systematic consequence until Martin Luthers description of homo incurvatus in se in his commentary on "Romans". Luther radicalizes Augustines conception by applying this relational view of sin to the totus homo and by emphasizing its appearance, above all, in homo religiosus. The Western tradition of sin understood paradigmatically as pride has been recently called into question by feminist theologians. Daphne Hampsons critique of Luther on this front is considered and critiqued.
    Though she is right to call attention to the insufficiency of his and Augustines myopic focus on pride, the question remains whether incurvatus in se can operate paradigmatically as an umbrella concept covering a far wider range of sins. Karl Barths extension of incurvatus in se to apply more broadly to pride, sloth and falsehood suggests that incurvature can do just that.

  • Matt Jenson

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Gravity of Sin