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"At the Same Time Blessed and Lame:" Ontology, Christology and Violence in Augustine and John Milbank

Author(s): Elisabeth Agnew Cochran

Journal: Journal for Christian Theological Research
ISSN 1087-1624

Volume: 11;
Start page: 51;
Date: 2006;
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In Being Reconciled, John Milbank affirms the necessity of Christ’s atonement for human redemption. Yet his Christological claims are undercut by the ontology that undergirds the narrative he puts forth in Theology and Social Theory, which depends upon the premise that a denial of a positive ontological status for violence lies at the heart of Christianity. Comparison to Augustine’s The City of God demonstrates that Augustine accepts a form of dialectical ontology that Milbank rejects, and that this dialectical ontology undergirds Augustine’s Christology in crucial ways. Although the differences between Milbank’s and Augustine’s depictions of the ontological status of violence are subtle, they have significant implications for the sorts of Christological claims that each of these thinkers is logically able to sustain.
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