Jonathan Edwards, Anselmic satisfaction and god's moral government

S. Mark Hamilton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Jonathan Edwards' doctrine of atonement has recently become a source of interest amongst some contemporary systematic theologians. This article sets out to redress two longstanding and historically strident claims regarding Edwards' doctrine of the nature of atonement: first, that Edwards espoused an Anselmic satisfaction theory of atonement; second, that Edwards also laid the theological foundation for the moral government theory of atonement, popularized in nineteenth-century America by those of his intellectual tradition. In this article, I lay out the conceptual core of both Anselm's satisfaction theory and the moral government theory of atonement. I argue that the claims noted above lack the explanatory resources needed to account accurately for Edwards' understanding of the nature of the atonement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-67
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Systematic Theology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


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