Original Sin: A Cultural History (book review)

A book review from The Movie Snob.

Original Sin: A Cultural History, by Alan Jacobs (2008).  This is an interesting book about how Christianity has grappled with the doctrine of original sin.  Jacobs focuses especially on people’s theories about how deeply our nature is wounded by original sin.  St. Augustine’s view, of course, has been a dominant one in Christian theology—we are so wounded by original sin that it is impossible for us to be good and do right without the aid of divine grace.  But there has always been a counterstrain of thought that cannot agree that God would create us in so warped and defective a condition, and folks adhering to that line of thinking have tended to conclude that we are capable of living good and sinless lives through our natural powers.  That happy theory is somewhat undermined, as Jacobs points out, by the fact that nobody (or almost nobody) actually does live that way.  Jacobs is an engaging writer, so if a historical survey of an important theological concept is your idea of a good time, seek out this book.  Maybe you can find it for $8 at Half-Price Books like I did.


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