Read The Joy of Being Wrong: Original Sin Through Easter Eyes by James Alison Online


This original work of theological anthropology looks at original sin in the light of the Resurrection, and shows how forgiveness has become the way of transformation....

Title : The Joy of Being Wrong: Original Sin Through Easter Eyes
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780824516765
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Joy of Being Wrong: Original Sin Through Easter Eyes Reviews

  • Aeisele
    2018-09-24 10:01

    Alison takes a look at the doctrine of original sin from a very different perspective. Traditionally the doctrine of original sin has been understood in a "foundational" manner. This means that the normal Christian story goes like this: creation, fall, redemption. Yet Alison changes this around. In his view, it is Jesus' death as a victim, and Jesus' resurrection as a victim, give us the hermeneutical key to understanding the whole stroy (what he calls the 'intelligence of the victim'). What we find out is that we can only understand original sin from the perspective of where we're going (salvation as new creation). In other words, the resurrection gives us the ability to "read back" the story of where we've been. And we find out that the originating sin of Adam actually had an effect that we didn't realize (this, by the way, is Judaism doesn't have a doctrine of original sin, he argues: the resurrection has yet to happen). Overall Alison has a very fruitful way to look at original sin. Often Christians use the doctrine as an accusation against Adam, when really the doctrine is meant to show everyone's complicity in the violent structure of the world. On the other hand, the doctrine's main point is that we should know that "death is not necessary," i.e. that it was historically contingent, rather than historically necessary, that sin happened. This means that this is not who we fundamentally are. In other words, it is meant to steer us between the Scylla of Pelagianism, and the Charbydis of Manicheanism. Alison does a good job with that.

  • Lawrence
    2018-08-27 15:55

    This is a difficult and profound book. I read Part One with great interest, but really I skimmed Part Two which contains the heavily detailed exegesis on the theories of Part One. In this respect, I think that the writer of the Foreward is just plain wrong when he says that one should read chapter one and then go directly to Part Two. It is chapter one and the other chapters of Part One that are most directly engaging to a non-theologian, non-academic reader.I have been stuck on the doctrine of original sin for many, many years. And I found mimetic theory and its anthropology to be a fascinating structure for viewing this doctrine and our human heritage. What I most appreciated was Mr. Alison's "retro-analysis" of the problem of original sin. That is, he begins with the revelations/unveilings to the apostolic witnesses that the Resurrection of Jesus caused. In this sense, he presents the unfolding of doctrine as actually the unfolding of experience. Just lovely. From this vantage point of the Resurrection, Mr. A. works back to the apostolic realization of the mimetic nature of human behavior and its involvement with death and violence. Then, my mind comes to Mr. A's point about God's indifference to death as opposed to our cultural obsession, as it were, with it. Last, I come to the point of the liberation that the book teaches: The Resurrection of Jesus shows that our forgiveness is ultimately our freedom from the obsession and the violence caused by our misapprehension of how we can or should behave. That is, we learn to see, to realize the nature of our mimetic behavior and its violence and can have the grace, if you will, to leave it behind. I will quote just a little from page 119: ". . . we can see that the only way we are able to appreciate our true condition as humans-marked-by-death is precisely as it is revealed to us that that condition is unnecessary. It is in this way that the doctrine of original sin is the culmination of the revealed understanding of being human: the shape of divine forgiveness revealed in the resurrection of Jesus shows itself to stretch into our congenital involvement with death. The doctrine of original sin is the doctrine of the un-necessity of death."

  • Jed
    2018-09-21 07:48

    I wouldn't dare analyse the intellectual arguments of someone who learned from Jesuits. Yikes!What I can say is that this book left me feeling sad for Roman Catholics. What must it be like to have your heavy thinkers continue to set you apart from all the other Christians who history has given a different set of practices and/or understanding of what the Jesus event meant for humanity? I confess that once the author arrived at the claim that baptism into the Roman Catholic church is the requirement for salvation, I began to lose interest and only skimmed the last third. I wouldn't accept this kind of exclusionism from someone in my own denomination and I don't like it being done to the many fine Christians I have known in other denominations, who have had much to offer Christians living out their faith. It feels like intellectual bullying.I wouldn't recommend this book generally, although some of my friends from ministry school might enjoy the intellectual games. This is definitely not a helpful book for people of faith with little or no theological or philosophical training.

  • Brett Salkeld
    2018-09-23 14:50

    This is one of those rare books where you are simply overwhelmed at the genius of the author. James Alison is at the same time creative and traditional, a thinker whose Catholic sensibility is so finely honed that even when he says something that no one in the tradition has ever said before it just sounds right. Once his basic thesis has been articulate, namely that original sin (like the Trinity) could never have been understood without the fact of the Resurrection, it seems obvious. But beyond that, Alison uses this thesis to cast so much light on the meaning of Jesus, the Cross and the Church that what one used to think about such things seems amateurish. The Scriptures simply come alive in Alison's prose.This would get 5 stars from me except for two things. First, I felt like there were one or two loose ends that never got resolved, though it is entirely possible that that was the fault of this reader, and not the author. Second, and relatedly, this book is written at a very high level. Fortunately non-specialists have access to the basic thrust of Alison's thought in his much simpler, but equally brilliant, Knowing Jesus.

  • Ron
    2018-09-14 13:42

    Very interesting and thoughtful exploration of what made humans human and the on-going struggle with that process.

  • Jesse Miller
    2018-09-06 14:56

    Alison makes original sin, a doctrine I've been somewhat uncomfortable with, into something reasonable and necessary. He argues against a "foundational" approach that starts with Adam sinning. Instead, he shows how Jesus's life, death, and resurrection reveals a new view of God and humanity. God is understood to have nothing to do with death. This development started in Hebrew Scriptures as God became less of a jealous, sometimes violent God among many gods to the one creator God. Human culture, on the other hand, is shown to be founded on exclusion and scapegoating. Our response must be one of repentance, forgiveness, and hope. Fairly orthodox stuff in the end.My main questions are on topics not addressed. I wonder how Alison would engage with Wes Howard-Brook or Karen Armstrong's Fields of Blood. Or anabaptist theology. It seems like it'd be a useful dialogue, but Alison seems to avoid talking about empire, probably not wanting to create an identity "over against" something.

  • Theresa
    2018-09-20 13:59

    This is a brilliant, thorough, insightful treatment of original sin in light of Girard's mimetic theory. At times the language was dense, but staying with it tenaciously was richly rewarded with a mature, sensible, credible light on the revelation of salvation.

  • Chris Waddle
    2018-09-03 08:44

    This is the greatest theology book I have ever read. I can say with no hesitation that this book demonstrates that Christianity is True and livable and helps to sustain human flourishing proudly. Thank God for this book and for James Alison.

  • Jacques-jude Lépine
    2018-09-25 09:52

    A genuine masterpiece of theology and anthropology. Not easy to read, long sentences and academic style, but the analysis is worth the effort. Hard to summarize. Forgiveness and resurrection are at the center.

  • John
    2018-09-26 09:05


  • Bradley
    2018-09-25 10:44

    I'm not going to lie, it was difficult, difficult. I gave it five stars because what I did understand opened up new and fruitful ways of looking at old problems. And I presume that what I didn't understand was of the same caliber. The whole idea of mimetic desire is powerful and transformative, once one gets this idea, the victimization prevalent in society just seems so obvious and prevalent. The idea that it is this which constitutes original sin is profound and prolific. The idea too that we only discover the lie of victimization through Christ sounds much saner and more Catholic than the idea that the state of original sin is in some way indicative of "original nature". A review shouldn't go one all day, but I do recommend it if you are ready for a bit of a slog; it is insightful powerful and even beautiful at times, and I'm grateful to have read it. It leaves me with questions, but until I have made a more thorough study of it I'll keep them to myself.

  • Sister Anne
    2018-09-18 09:04

    Just FYI, this was Alison's doctoral dissertation, despite being written in an almost conversational style. I had to read it twice in a row just to read it once, but it was well worth the effort. There are some amazing insights in Alison's bringing Rene Girard's thought to bear on the issue of Original Sin. He takes all the moralism out while actually upping the ante with his robust theology of Original Sin. This is a book I think I will need to read annually. It has a tremendous amount to offer the reader--and the Church.