Why God Became a Man
A Conversation with Anselm's Cur Deus Homo
by Tami Jelinek
Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109), sometimes called “The Father of Scholasticism,” was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 until his death. This paper converses with his work Cur Deus Homo (lit. “Why the God-Man?”), which scholars have paralleled with Romans 3, and specifically Paul’s view of the atonement as “satisfaction” (Gr. Hilasterion). Part one of this paper examines Anselm’s arguments in light of the text of Romans 3, and considers whether Anselm was faithful to Paul. Part two examines Anselm’s view of sin, humanity’s responsibility for sin, and how Christ’s sacrifice overcomes sin by making satisfaction to God. Part three discusses some of the strengths and weaknesses of Anselm’s arguments; and part four critiques Anselm with attention toward the biblical, logical and pastoral implications of his theology as presented in Cur Deus Homo.
Tami Jelinek is a part-time senior care-giving coordinator and full-time seminarian, currently working toward her Master of Divinity degree. Tami and her husband of twenty-six years, Keith, reside in Auburn Hills, Michigan. They have three grown children. Tami’s personal passion is theology: the knowledge and experience of the Truth and Mercy found only in the person and work of Jesus Christ, and displayed in the lives and communion of His people. Exploring portraits of Christ and His kingdom in the Old Testament is the primary focus of her studies. Tami and Keith enjoy traveling, and love to fill their home with friends and family who share their fondness for good food, good wine, and great conversation.