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Sin A Guide for the Perplexed by Derek R. Nelson

Sin A Guide for the Perplexed

Part of the Guides for the Perplexed Series


Sin A Guide for the Perplexed by Derek R. Nelson

This is an upper-level introduction to the doctrine and understanding of sin in modern theology. Christianity concerns itself with salvation. But salvation implies something from which one must be saved, as reconciliation implies an estrangement and redemption a loss. The classical theological symbol naming the problem to which salvation is the solution is sin. Interpreting the meaning of sin, however, has become difficult for two reasons: sin has become a taboo subject in popular discourse, and has acquired an extremely broad meaning in recent theology. Sin: A Guide for the Perplexed is intended as a mid-level, comprehensive introduction to the notion of sin and its significance for Christian theology. Nelson situates and interprets biblical material on sin, and then offers a lucid history of the doctrine. He elucidates Augustine's conception of original sin and defends it against its many caricatures. Special attention is paid to sin as an ordinary, yet highly interruptive, phenomenon in the lives of individuals. This is supplemented by a careful look at the non-individualistic dimensions of sin, and an appreciation of how sin relates to other key theological commitments. Continuum's Guides for the Perplexed are clear, concise and accessible introductions to thinkers, writers and subjects that students and readers can find especially challenging - or indeed downright bewildering. Concentrating specifically on what it is that makes the subject difficult to grasp, these books explain and explore key themes and ideas, guiding the reader towards a thorough understanding of demanding material.


'It takes not only a searching mind but also a good sense of wit to write intelligibly about sin from a Christian perspective. In this excellent primer on sin, Derek R. Nelson accomplishes both goals. His typologies of old and modern classics are revealing, but Nelson also knows that that talk about sin is only good news if God comes into picture. Rich in examples, his analysis of the many sin-nonyms of sin is particularly penetrating.' - Niels Henrik Gregersen, Professor of Systematic Theology at Copenhagen University, Denmark.--Sanford Lakoff 'It is an odd fact that the language of sin is widely used in contemporary cultures and yet also widely misunderstood. Derek Nelson's book, Sin: A Guide for the Perplexed, helpfully address this situation by deftly showing the indispensible contribution Christian theology makes to clarifying sin as a moral vocabulary and also perplexity about sin. Learned and yet artfully written, this book is an aid to anyone interested in the evil that stalks human life and the Christian response to it. This book deserves careful reading.' - William Schweiker, Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of Theological Ethics The University of Chicago, USA.--Sanford Lakoff'

About the Author

Derek Nelson is Assistant Professor of Religion and Co-Director of the Thiel Global Institute, Thiel College, Greenville, Pennsylvania, USA

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Book Info

Publication date

1st May 2011


Derek R. Nelson

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T.& T.Clark Ltd an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


176 pages


Christian theology
Philosophy of religion



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