Pederson, Joshua, The Forsaken Son: Child Murder And Atonement In Modern American Fiction. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 2016. Pp. 184. $ 34.95 paper, $ 99.95 cloth.The Forsaken Son is a challenging text that addresses issues concerning the murder of children and atonement in Christian theology. Pederson’s initial chapter, entitled “Rachel Weeping: Atonement Theology and Forsaken Children,” defines atonement theology as Christianity’s answer to the question: “why does God send his son to die a painful death on the cross?” (5). In a series of five essays in modern American literature, Pederson addresses filicide in the work of Flannery O’Connor, John Updike, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, and Cormac McCarthy.In this insightful introduction, Pederson references Stephen Prothero, chief academic advisor for the lauded WGBH-TV series “God in America,” and Chair of the Department of Religion at Boston University, who says, in The American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon, that “[t]he United States is the Christian nation par excellence” and “home to more Christians than any other nation in history” (13). Since the 1950s, commentary regarding atonement has come to “revert from saving grace to trauma—or even crime” (5). Pederson claims, nevertheless, that “modern literature can … help
Religion and the Arts – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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