Fleming Rutledge on the crucifixion


The Rev. Fleming Rutledge has written a new book about the crucifixion of Jesus that is receiving wide notice across a wide spectrum of American Christianity.


Fleming Rutledge, 79, is a theologian and one of the first women ordained in the Episcopal Church. Her book, “The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ,” is a magisterial 669-page tome that has garnered the attention and respect of some unlikely religious leaders.

Exhibit A is the “New Calvinist” movement, which firmly holds that women are barred from the pastorate and are required by God to submit to their husbands. John Piper, who is something of the pope for New Calvinists and once claimed that God had intentionally given Christianity a “masculine feel,” featured a reading from the book on his podcast and called her book “valuable.” Andrew Wilson gave it a glowing review at The Gospel Coalition, a New Calvinist mega-website, where he called it “beautiful scholarship.”

But mainstream evangelicalism has also embraced Rutledge’s work. Mark Galli, editor-in-chief at Christianity Today, devoted a lengthy interview with her about the crucifixion. And the publication named her book its “2017 Book of the Year.”

The influential Catholic periodical Commonweal Magazine devoted a feature article to Rutledge’s work. The article called her book “remarkable” and “monumental.” The Jesuit publication America Magazinerecommended it as a “vast theological reflection.” And commentator George Weigel quoted from and lauded the book in a column at the conservative Catholic publication First Things.

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