Communal sin, atonement, and group non-agential moral responsibility

Harvey Cawdron*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In analytic theology, corporate and/or communal accounts of moral responsibility are gaining recognition as a useful resource in numerous debates. One of the areas to which they have been applied is the atonement. It is thought that when Christ is atoning for the human community, one evades concerns about justice because it seems permissible for a member of a group to suffer punishment for the group's actions even if they are not morally responsible for these themselves. To establish the moral responsibility of the human community, one can either adopt group agency or utilize a non-agential form of group moral responsibility. I shall explore the latter option here and shall outline the understanding of communal sin undergirding the model.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalReligious Studies
Early online date9 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Aug 2023


  • Atonement
  • Sin
  • Group moral responsibility
  • Human community


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