Acceptilation - Biblical Cyclopedia



(acceptilatio), a term in theology, used, with regard to redemption, to denote the acceptance on the part of God of an atonement not really equal to that in place of which it is received, but equivalent, not because of its intrinsic value, but because of God's determination to receive it. The term is borrowed from the commercial law of the Romans, in which it is defined "an acquittance from obligation, by word of mouth, of a debtor by a creditor" (Pandects of Justinian), or "an imaginary payment" (Institutes of Justinian). In the theology of the Middle Ages, the term was first used and the theory developed by Duns Scotus in his controversy with the followers of Thomas Aquinas He defended the proposition that every created oblation or offering is worth what God is pleased to accept it for and no more." The doctrine continued to be a subject of dispute between the followers of Duns Scotus and those of Thomas Aquinas throughout the Middle Ages, and still divides the Roman Catholic theologians, as the Popes have never authoritatively settled it. The Lutheran and Calvinistic theologians mostly adopted the doctrine of a strict satisfaction; but the theory of a relative necessity found eloquent defenders in Hugo Grotius (q.v.), and the Arminian theologians Episcopius (q.v.), Limborch (q.v.), and Curcellaeus (q.v.). See Shedd, History of Doctrines., 2, 347 sq.

Definition of acceptation

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