In 1930 Professor Gustaf Aulen published his condensed Olaus Petri Lectures, first delivered at the University of Uppsala and then in Germany, on “The Three Chief Types of the Christian Atonement Concept” (Die drei Haupttypen des christlichen Versoehnungsgedanken, in Zeitschrift fur systematische Theologie, pp. 501–538). Ever since, the question has been asked whether the learned Swedish theologian has accurately and correctly presented the “three chief types of the Atonement,” and Luther’s doctrine of the Atonement in particular.

In many respects the modern Christian world owes Aulen, and the whole Lundensian, or Swedish, school of theology as well, a vote of thanks for reviving interest in the study of Christian doctrine, especially that of the Protestant Reformation. Through the investigations and publications of the Swedish school, the sola gratia of Wittenberg and Geneva has once more been made the object of careful study both in Europe and in America, so that this articulus fundamentalissimus of Christendom has had a new chance to assert itself over against the Pelagianism of modern Liberalism.

In English-speaking countries Aulen’s monograph on the three types of the Atonement has become favorably known through A. G. Herbert’s excellent translation, published under the title Christus Victor, which first appeared in England in 1931 and then again in an “American edition” in 1951.

Aulen’s Three Types

The three types of the Atonement that Aulen delineates not only in Christus Victor, but also in many of his other works, in particular in his Christian Dogmatics—known among English-speaking students as The Faith of the Christian Church (Muhlenberg Press, ...

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