[14 ]S. M. Wilcox, Tyndale, p. 81. That being said, there were Latin precedents for this translation approach-see below.

Even though some commentators erroneously dismiss the obvious derivation of “atonement” as nonsense (e.g., W. E. Vine et al., Dictionary (1996), NT, p. 44: “the explanation of this English word as being at-one-ment’ is entirely fanciful”)`, the approach to translation that produced this new term was well-established at the time William Tyndale’s English translation of the Bible was produced. Arthur Henry King explains (A. H. King, Atonement, pp. 331-332):

In the Middle Ages, those who translated the Bible and other theological materials into English did so (as the Germans still do when translating into German) by translating the verbal components of a Greek or Latin word into English elements…. A term people muddle themselves about, for they cannot believe its etymology, is at-one-ment; “to make one,” however is exactly what atonement means. “Ment,” a suffix from Latin, makes “atone” into a noun; that’s all “ment” does. But “atone” begins… with Wycliff; he had “one” as a verb: “to one,” which is daring. It then became “at one” (an adjectival or adverbial form) but retained its character as a verb; from “at one” came the abstract noun “atonement.” In the sixteenth century, Tyndale, a Bible translator, made the word equal to the Latin [adunare], which means “to unite” (ad is an intensifier here). This translation approach… mirrors the Germanic process of translating component parts.

The use of the verb adunare was rare in Latin, though it was used by some early Christian writers. Variations of the term (adunata, adunavit, adunabo) occur three times in the Vulgate (J. J. Bourasse et al., Vulgate; see 2 Chronicles 24:27, 29:20; Ezekiel 11:17), though in contexts with no theological significance.

The Oxford English Dictionary points to occurrences of the phrase “to be made/set at one” (meaning “to bereconciled”) as early as 1300, an expression that was gradually replaced by the verb “toatone” (J. A. Simpson et al., OED, p. 754). An early example comes from Sir Thomas More, an innovator with the English language who was, ironically, Tyndale’s enemy. He wrote in 1513, referring to a reconciliation of a conflict in his History of King Richard III: “Having more regarde to their oldevariaunce than their new attonement” (Cited in ibid.).

“Atonement” also connotes wholeness in body, mind, and spirit, as still reflected in the modern use of the French term salut, referring both to health and salvation, and frequently used as a greeting. Observes Rey: “Like fides, a former religious term that has come into everyday usage, salus has been taken up into the language of the Christian church and given a new meaning. The word was originally a derivation of salvus (whole, intact)” (A. Rey, Dictionnaire, 2:2009, s.v., salut, translation mine). The close association of health and salvation are equally apparent in other languages, as explained by King (A. H. King, Atonement, p. 331):

The words “heal” and “whole” are etymologically akin. The sense of “wholeness” and the sense of “healing” are held together in the New Testament expression “the man was made whole” (John 5:9). These words go back to the same root in Indo-European, and in the Germanic languages, they are close. Furthermore, “heal” and “whole” developed apparently separate significances of “curing” and “uniting” but while we take them as separate, we realize ways that these senses are clearly linked.

One variant of the two is the word Heiland (Old English Heliand), the main German word for “Savior.” It is the translation of “Savior,” yet Heiland also means “the Healer,” so the Savior is a healer as well. In fact, saving is healing and healing is saving; the dictionary’s definitions of salve and “salvation” illustrate this fact… Consider also the greeting words “hail” (English), heil (German), and hell (Scandinavian); all of these greetings mean “may you be well and whole.”

Note that Barr, however, provides cautionary arguments against the equating of “holy” and “heal” (as opposed to “whole” and “heal”) on an etymological basis (J. Barr, Semantics, pp. 111-114).

While “atonement” is the preferred English term in the LDS Church for both the process and the result of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, it has naturally been difficult to find terms with similar connotations in other languages (M. Kahne, September 22 2009). For example, the only solution in the translation of Elder Talmage’s Jesus the Christ from English into French was to leave out the explanation of the English term when the passage was translated (compare, e.g., J. E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, pp. 21-22 with J. E. Talmage, Jsus le Christ, p. 24). In other cases, even though there was no attempt to explain “atonement” to French readers, relevant differences in the English translation required an explanation from the translator (see, e.g., ibid., pp. 97-98). Attempts to directly substitute the French terms expier/expiation for the English terms “to atone/atonement” are fraught with challenges, due to their association with the ideas of chastisement or suffering (C. Dogniez et al., Pentateuque, Glossaire, s.v. apaisement, pp. 868-870). The term “reconciliation” (available both in French and English) is a better choice (see, e.g., J. F. Smith, Jr., Doctrines, 9 March 1935, 1:125 and 2 March 1935, 1:122), yet unfortunately it is still not sufficient to adequately convey the idea of perfect unity that is felicitously found in the term “atonement.”

The term “reconciliation,” derives from a root that means “to be seated again with someone.” About the terms “reconciliation,” “return,” and “repentance,” Nibley writes:

[Just prior to Romans 5:11,] Paul has… told us that the Lord “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High,” so “reconciliation” is a very good word for atonement there, since it means literally to be seated again with someone (re-con-silio)-so that atonement is to be reunited with God. The Greek word translated as “reconciliation” is katallagein. That is a business term which the Greek-English Lexicon tells us means “exchange, especially of money; … change from enmity to friendship, reconciliation; … reconciliation of sinners with God.” It is the return to the status ante quo, whether as a making of peace or a settlement of debt (H.W. Nibley, Atonement, p. 556).

[Katallagein] means “changing back again to where you were.” It’s the same thing as teshvah in Hebrew. Teshuvah is the Hebrew term for “returning, repentance.” But where is the oneness [you find in the term “atonement”]? (H.W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, 16, 1:198)

[Teshuvah] means “a return”-you return to where you were. But you can never come back; you can’t go home again after you have sinned. That has to be washed away, so there is baptism. The idea is to return, but how can you return to a place if you never were there before? All throughout the doctrine of atonement, a pre-existence is assumed-returning to the presence of the Father, coming home again. The Pearl, the earliest Christian hymn, is beautiful on that particular subject… (H. W. Nibley, Message 2005, pp. 487-501). In [the term] “reconciliation” you have a settlement or an understanding, but that doesn’t make you one… (H.

W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, 16, 1:198).

[15] W. Tyndale, Works, pp. 158, 431, cited in W. W. Skeat, Dictionary, p. 40, s.v., atone.

[16]J. Gallagher, Atoning.

[17] Matthew 6:10; cf. 3 Nephi 13:10; D&C 65:5-6. For more on the origin and meaning of the term “atonement,” see J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image, pp. 642-644.

[18] See also 1 Corinthians 15:28; Colossians 1:15-17; D&C 27:13.

[19] James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The Last Supper (La Cne), 1886-1894. Image: 8 9/16 x 12 1/16 in. (21.7 x 30.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.220. In J. F. Dolkart, James Tissot, p. 206. With permission.

[20] John 17:20-23; cf. D&C 38 :27.

[21] Matthew 18:19-20.

[22]H. W. Nibley, Circle; H. W. Nibley, Prayer Circle.

[23]See also D&C 88:13, 41.

[24]H. W. Nibley, Teachings of the PGP, 17, p. 213.

[25] Nephi 1:8.

[26]H. W. Nibley, Teachings of the PGP, 17, p. 211.

[27]E. Hennecke et al., Acts of John, 94, p. 227.

[28]3 Nephi 11:8.

[29]E.g., 2 Nephi 22:6; 3 Nephi 11:8, 21:17-18; cf. Isaiah 12:6; Jeremiah 14:9; Hosea 11:9; Joel 2:27; Micah 5:13-14; Moses 7:69; Zechariah 3:5, 15, 17. See S. K. Brown, Voices, pp. 150-151; R. D. Draper et al., Commentary, pp. 150-151.

[30] Luke 15:17.

[31] Luke 15:11-32. See W. Barclay, Parables, p. 187; A. J. Hultgren, Parables, p. 72; R. L. Millet, Lost.

[32]W. Barclay, Parables, p. 183.

[33]D. Packard et al., Feasting, p. 47; cf. J. Jeremias, Parables, p. 102.

[34] A hadith qudsi of Muhammad portrays God as saying: “And if [my servant] draws nearer to Me by a handsbreadth, I draw nearer to him by an armslength; and if he draws nearer to Me by an armslength, I draw nearer to him by a fathom; and if he comes to Me walking, I come to him running” (cited in W. A. Graham, Divine, p. 127).

[35]D. Packard et al., Feasting, p. 47.

[36]J. Jeremias, Parables, p. 102.

[37]W. Barclay, Parables, pp. 181-182; J. Jeremias, Parables, pp. 102-103.

[38]With permission from Athalie Wesley. In N. Wray, Wesley, p. 45.

[39]The picture was originally painted for the Chapel of a Social Center in Japan. Sadly, the Center was destroyed by the bombing of Hiroshima. However, it was later rebuilt to serve a former outcast group.

[40]G. Wheeler et al., Wesley.

[41]N. Wray, April 2 2007.

[42]N. Wray, Wesley, p. 44.

[43] 2 Nephi 4:15-35.

[44] 2 Nephi 5:19.

[45] 2 Nephi 5:3.

[46] 2 Nephi 5:2.

[47]D. Packard et al., Feasting, p. 92. See 2 Nephi 2:1-2.

[48] 2 Nephi 4:32-33.

[49]H. W. Nibley, Approach, p. 253.

[50]H. W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, 16. According to Nibley, this “is the purest desert talk for May I stick to the wadi [-the dry desert river bed-] and not get off the clearly marked mainline [highway] that everyone follows!” (H.W. Nibley, Approach, p. 73). It “means sticking right to the path [, the derekh]” (H. W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, 16). Psalm 1:6 reads, “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish”-or as the Jewish Study Bible renders it, “For the Lord cherishes the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked is doomed” (A. Berlin et al., Jewish, p. 1285). Hugh Nibley paraphrases, “The way of the wicked shall be lost in the sand” (H. W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, 16).

[51]A. Berlin et al., Jewish, p. 1311.

[52] 2 Nephi 4:33.

[53]H. W. Nibley, Approach, p. 253.

[54]H. W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, 18.

[55]Ibid., 16, 1:199; cf. Psalm 27:5, H. W. Nibley, Approach to Abraham, pp. 74-75.

[56] The practice of prayer with uplifted hands is frequently mentioned in ancient sources. Indeed, some texts specifically assert that its exercise goes back to the very beginning (e.g., “Adam was then offering on the altar, and had begun to pray, with his hands spread unto God” (S. C. Malan, Adam and Eve, 1:59, p. 83). See also Moses 7:41; H. W. Nibley, Prayer Circle, pp. 56-60; J. A. Tvedtnes, Temple Prayer, pp. 81-88; M. von Wellnitz, Liturgy, p. 31). Even today, this gesture is widely recognized as a sign of distress, a call for help, and a demonstration of peaceful intent (H. W. Nibley, Temples Everywhere, p. 14). This classical orans (= Latin “praying”) position was practiced by priests in temples throughout the ancient world. Notably, in the art of the catacombs, the orans posture was specifically associated with prayer offered by or in behalf of deceased souls (M. M. Hassett, Orans, p. 269).

Christians have long connected the tradition with the posture of crucifixion. Emminghaus writes (J. H. Emminghaus, Eucharist, p. 133):

From the point of view of religious history, the lifting of the hands… is an expressive gesture of prayer to the “gods above” [see R. H. Wilkinson, Art, pp. 28-29 for a discussion of the gesture in Egyptian worship] … General anthropology  has… shown us that among all peoples, the offering and showing of the open palms, which therefore cannot hold weapons or anything dangerous, is a sign of peaceful intent… Thus open hands uplifted are a universal gesture of peace, confidence, and petition; in contrast, a clenched fist means threat and challenge to battle. In the Old Testament, lifting the hands to God (e.g., Exodus 9:29, 33: Psalm 28:2, 63:5, 88:10), or toward the Temple (e.g., 1 Kings 8:38) was a universal custom. This Jewish gesture of prayer was apparently adopted by Christians for private as well as communal prayer. Tertullian refers to it (see Tertullian, Prayer, 14, p. 685): The Jews, because of their feelings of guilt, do not dare to lift their hands to Christ.

“But we not only lift them, but even extend them, imitating the Lord’s passion, as we also confess Christ in prayer.”  The oldest depiction of the crucifixion of Christ (still very muted, because otherwise so scandalous to Romans), on the wooden portals of Santa Sabina on the Aventine in Rome (6th c.) shows the crucified Lord with slightly bent arms and open, nailed hands, but without an express depiction of the cross-almost as if he were standing in front of the framework of a house. This is precisely the form of the orans posture as Tertullian pictures it: In the Christians who are praying in this way, the Father also sees the dying son on the cross. Naturally, this interpretation of the orans posture is secondary and allegorizing, but it is still interesting and revealing.

[57]See H. W. Nibley, Temples Everywhere, p. 14.

[58]D. Bonhoeffer, Cost, pp. 45-48. “Surely it is a lighter labor to make a world than to save one. Scripture will call the heavens the work of God’s finger (Psalm 8:3), but redemption will be called the labor of His arm (Psalm 77:15) and the travail of His soul (Isaiah 53:11)” (W. A. Gage, Gospel, pp. 83-84).

[59]Alma 34:14.

[60]M. Barker, Temple Theology, p. 37. Barker associates such ritual imagery with the concept of “cleaving” to God (see also A. J. Heschel, Heavenly Torah, pp. 190-193). She notes, however, that “the meaning seems to have shifted from union’ to obedience’ after the demise of the ancient temple.”

[61]H.W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, 16, 1:198.

[62]H. W. Nibley, Atonement, pp. 567-568. Cf. the ritual embrace in Egyptian temple rites (H. W. Nibley, Message 2005, pp. 445-449).

[63] Alma 5:33. See D. Calabro, Stretch Forth, pp. 15-19, 24.

[64] 2 Nephi 1:15.

[65] 2 Peter 1:4.

[66] Romans 8:17.

[67]T. G. Madsen, Suffering, p. 234. See Romans 8:17; 2 Corinthians 4:10; Galatians 2:20, 6:17; S. C. Malan, Adam and Eve, 1:69, pp. 83-84; I. Mika’el,  son of Bakhayla, Godhead, p. 136.

[68]J. E. Seaich, Ancient Texts 1995, p. 550 and Revelation 13:8. Gross notes that “to imitate the passion’ of a hero-savior in order to ensure salvation” is the heart of the mysteries (J. Gross, Divinization, p. 87). Cf. P. E. S. Thompson’s observation that the story of God’s choosing of Abraham-and later of Israel-“was to demonstrate that it was not an election to privilege… but to responsibility for all mankind” (cited in A. LaCocque, Trial, p. 19).