Journal for Christian Theological Research


In Being Reconciled, John Milbank affirms the necessity of Christ’s atonement for human redemption. Yet his Christological claims are undercut by the ontology that undergirds the narrative he puts forth in Theology and Social Theory. This narrative depends upon the premise that a denial of a positive ontological status for violence lies at the heart of Christianity. A comparison of Theology and Social Theory to Augustine’s The City of God demonstrates that Augustine accepts a form of dialectical ontology that Milbank rejects, and that this dialectical ontology undergirds Augustine’s Christology in crucial ways. Although the differences between Milbank’s and Augustine’s depictions of the ontological status of violence are subtle, these differences have significant implications for the sorts of Christological claims that each of these thinkers is logically able to sustain.