International Journal for Philosophy of Religion

, Volume 86, Issue 3, pp 227–241 | Cite as

The coherence of equivocal penal substitution: modern and scholastic voices

  • G. H. LabooyEmail author
  • P. M. Wisse


In this contribution we investigate the conceptual coherence of penal substitution and its moral validity. After assessing two opposing modern contributions (Stevin Porter and Mark Murphy), we turn to Reformed and medieval scholasticism (Owen, Van Mastricht, and Duns Scotus). This scholastic manoeuvre sheds additional light on the analytic questions at issue. Following Owen and Scotus in their use of a relational analysis of guilt and its punishment, we argue that penal substitution is conceptually and morally coherent, albeit not univocally vis-à-vis ordinary punishment. Absent from the case of substitution is personal deservedness; herein we follow Murphy. However, this leaves open the conceptual possibility of representative deservedness (pace Murphy).


Coherence Penal substitution Scholasticism Scotus Owen Representative deservedness 


Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Protestant Theological UniversityAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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