Defending Substitution

An Essay on Atonement in Paul

by Simon Gathercole (Author)Craig Evans (Editor)Lee McDonald (Editor)
  • Buy 10+ and save 35%


Defending Substitution is part of the Acadia Studies in Bible and Theology series. Series editors are Craig A. Evans and Lee Martin McDonald.

"The meaning of Jesus's death remains controversial. In this short exploratory study Simon Gathercole draws on a range of classical as well as biblical sources to argue that for Paul, at least, the notion of substitution remained central. Many questions remain, but this book will give new energy to the ongoing discussion."
--N. T. Wright, University of St. Andrews

"Why is Good Friday good? According to one classic answer to this question, Jesus's shameful and violent death belongs to the good news of the gospel because he died in our place. By careful and lucid analysis of key passages, Simon Gathercole shows that this view has deep roots both in Paul's texts and in his Jewish and Greco-Roman cultural heritage. Often criticized and caricatured, the concept of substitution is integral to the New Testament's conviction that Christ died 'for us' and 'for our sins.'"
--Francis Watson, Durham University

"In this little book, Simon Gathercole carefully and convincingly dismisses false dichotomies. The death of Christ is presented in the Bible as both representative and substitutionary. These learned and lucid lectures use the prism of modern disputes to take us to the heart of Pauline teaching on the cross. I highly commend it."
--Mark Dever, pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC

"Can Christ's work of atonement be substitutionary in nature? Though Reformation Protestantism has replied in the affirmative, much recent scholarship has tended to have a negative view of this atonement motif. Simon Gathercole is to be congratulated for intervening in this debate with a short, clear, and lively book that argues the case for a substitutionary motif from a biblical perspective, and with an eye to both the Christian tradition and recent debates in the literature. This is a work all those interested in the atonement will want to read and engage. It is certainly a book I shall be recommending to my students."
--Oliver D. Crisp, Fuller Theological Seminary


Simon Gathercole, Author

Simon Gathercole (PhD, University of Durham) is senior lecturer in New Testament studies in the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge and Fellow and director of studies in theology at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. A leading British New Testament scholar, he has written hundreds of articles and several groundbreaking volumes, including The Preexistent Son: Recovering the Christologies of Matthew, Mark, and Luke; The Gospel of Judas: Rewriting Early Christianity; The Composition of the Gospel of Thomas; and The Gospel of Thomas: Introduction and Commentary. He is also coauthor of How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus' Divine Nature--A Response.

View more by Simon Gathercole

Craig Evans, Editor

Lee McDonald, Editor