Augsburg Fortress

A Theology of the Cross: The Death of Jesus in the Pauline Letters

A Theology of the Cross: The Death of Jesus in the Pauline Letters

In Paul's epistles the crucifixion story reveals a God who is free and in no way bound by human categories or expectations. Yet God in Christ chooses to be engaged in the very depths of the human predicament. The message of the crucifixion is that God's power is manifested in weakness, not in strength. The author believes that this "weakness as strength" should be the focal point of the church's identity. However, a celebration of weakness is in complete opposition to traditional American beliefs in personal strength and a powerful church.

"Ernst Käsemann ... has written on the theme [of the cross] most poignantly and penetratingly. Because the cross is endlessly relentless in its claim and restless in its critical voice, however, even Käsemann's rendering is not final.
"Cousar's book demonstrates that we can and must move beyond even Käsemann in our own obedient act of understanding and response to the cross. ... Cousar's careful adn acute exposition shows effectively that the cross cannot be contained in such a single category, but functions as a norm and singular definitional voice on a broad range of theological, interpretive, and ethical issues."
—from the Editor's Foreword, by Walter Brueggemann
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  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800615581
  • Age/Grade Range Adult
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 208
  • Publication Date May 1, 1990


"Charles Cousar's A Theology of the Cross moves gracefully between critical exegesis and theological reflection. Deftly expositing Paul's interpretation of the cross and resurrection, Cousar corrects the polemical imbalance of Kasemann's treatment while updating its insights about the urgency of the word of the cross for the church today. Cousar's discerning work is a splendid achievement: at once deeply conversant with cutting-edge technical scholarship and written with great lucidity for the nonspecialist, it illumines Paul's message in a way that will prove especially valuable for pastors and students. I know of no other work that so helpfully synthesizes important recent developments in the study of Pauline theology."
— Richard B. Hays Yale University