Q & R: Resources on Atonement

Here’s the Q:

As the pastor of a small congregation, I am quite fortunate to have a three month sabbatical coming up that I may take in 2013. This is a valuable opportunity to explore and study at a depth that is often very difficult with the demands of a solo pastorate, and I’m eager to make the most of it!
For the past few years it has seemed more and more apparent that, consciously or unconsciously, for a great many people their understanding – or misunderstanding – of atonement affects their whole view of God, religion, church, themselves, and their relationship with family, friends, strangers, and enemies. Therefore, I hope to spend my sabbatical studying the breadth of atonement interpretations, the history of their development, their implications across theology, and the consequences that permeate our spiritual and social lives. The goal is that greater understanding on my part will enable me to offer the same to others.
Could you suggest someone or someplace that has been studying atonement? Could you point me to any other resources? Your suggestions are highly valued
Thank you very much for any direction that you are able to provide.

Here’s the R:

I’m glad you’re getting this opportunity – and you’re tackling an important subject.
There are so many books and authors that deserve your attention, but let me mention a few I’d put at the top of the list:
Mark Baker and Joel Green – especially see their “scandal of the cross” books.
Tony Bartlett, Michael Hardin, and James Alison – their books and CD lectures. (Alison’s “The Shape of God’s Affection” series is tremendous.)
Many of these writers will lead you back to Rene Girard, whose work on this subject is revolutionary and deeply subversive as well.
For resources on Girard, see
Theology and Peace
The Raven Foundation