This book reconsiders ways in which the cross of Christ was construed 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. ""This is an outstandingly lucid and imaginative reflection on the meaning and significance of the cross. Young ranges effortlessly from Scripture to the Fathers, from paintings to poetry, from social anthropology to preaching, and using metaphor and images, draws a picture that is more profound and more far-reaching than any of the constraining theories of the atonement. At once masterful and moving."" --Kent Brower, Senior Research Fellow in Biblical Studies, Nazarene Theological College ""Wise, rich, surprising, this wonderful book opens familiar traditions anew, with profound vision. There is the ancient and the current, poetry and paradox, challenge and simplicity: there is life. Frances Young is an incomparable teacher."" --Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence, Willard Prescott and Annie McClelland Smith Professor, Chair, Dept. of Religious Studies, Brown University ""Here one of the greatest living theologians further opens up one of her core themes. The combination of scholarship, imagination, lived experience and profound, daring thought is gripping and inspiring. Above all the cross shows the depths of life and of God together, and the result is a powerful prophetic wisdom for our times."" --David F. Ford, University of Cambridge Frances M. Young was Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology in the University of Birmingham, UK. She began teaching in 1971 and is the author of many books and articles. She is known particularly for Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture (1997), as well as Face to Face (1990), an account of life with her profoundly disabled son, Arthur. In retirement she continues to write and to lead worship as a Methodist minister.