Construing the Cross

Construing the Cross

Type, Sign, Symbol, Word, Action

Frances Young


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Construing the Cross reconsiders ways in which the cross of Christ was understood before “atonement theories” narrowed the categories. The “typology” of Passover is explored as probably the very first way in which Christians came to understand the passion. The use of sacrificial imagery is re-examined. The significance of identifying the cross with the Tree of Life is traced across the centuries into medieval times, along with other surprising links with the Eden narrative. The validity of seeking imaginative insights to grasp what the cross signifies is given theological consideration in a chapter that moves into literary and liturgical reflections and is punctuated with cruciform poems. The overall outcome is a quite paradoxical focus, not on death, but on life.


Frances Young:
Frances Young OBE, MA is Emeritus Professor of Theology and formerly Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Birmingham. Her recent publications include Brokenness and Blessing: Towards a Biblical Spirituality (DLT/Baker, 2007), From Nicaea to Chalcedon: A guide to the Literature and its background (SCM/Baker, 2010) and God's Presence: A Contemporary Recapitulation of Early Christianity (CUP, 2013).