N.T. Wright Responds: A Special for Jesus Creed Readers

N.T. Wright Responds: A Special for Jesus Creed Readers July 14, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 6.26.39 PMTom Wright is at the forefront of the Paul debate today, and he stands there with such folks as John Barclay and Bev Gaventa and perhaps even more with Doug Campbell.

Wright’s justly praised mammoth 2 volume Paul and the Faithfulness of God, attaching to the front a book coming out this fall and at the end a collection of essays — yes, four volumes, generated lots of discussion and not a little strong criticism. The apocalyptic Paul scholars don’t like his narratival approach and think he’s supersessionistic (I think they are even more so supersessionistic) and not enough newness, the post-new perspective folks think he’s got too much newness and not enough continuity, and the old perspective folks keep chirping away about soteriology, justification, and double imputation and think Tom’s got enough of them.

So Tom now has taken on the five biggest points in a new book, and readers of this blog are being offered a special discount to purchase the volume in advance.

Messianism, beginning with Jesus, covenant narrative or cosmic invasion, messianic Israel or saved sinners, and missiology: Paul’s or ours? There’s some hard-hitting stuff here, but that’s the stuff of present day Pauline scholarship: much is at stake, and not a little of it political (if I may say so).

Wright clarifies his position and answers his critics in The Paul Debate – Critical Questions for Understanding the Apostle. In it, Wright responds to his 5 most questioned views on Paul.

Due in stores on October 1st, Baylor University Press is offering 20%-off + free shipping on pre-orders from their website. Just use discount code BP48 at baylorpress.com.

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  • Chris Criminger

    Hey Scot,
    I’m looking forward to Wright’s new book. Do you know anything about another upcoming new book by Samuel V. Adams who is challenging Wright’s methodology? The book is called The Reality of God and Historical Method. He is particularly challenging Wright’s understanding of Apocalyptic.

  • DonaldByronJohnson

    I hold to what some call the Radical New Perspective on Paul, that Paul was a lifelong Torah-pursuant Jew. The net is I think Wright asks some good questions but does not go far enough in his conclusions, instead, he decides to stay with historic Protestant, even Anglican, understandings.

  • nickgill

    Scot, is “The Paul Debate” the book you describe as “attaching to the front” of PFG? Or is there a specific addition to PFG also coming out this fall?

  • scotmcknight

    Not heard of it. But I will read it.

  • scotmcknight

    No, that’s called Paul and His Interpreters — how about that for another book. Much longer and fuller; this offer today is a smaller book that responds to five big criticisms/questions.

  • Chris Criminger

    Hey Scot,
    I found Samuel Adams dissertation on line. I read it quickly but found it interesting and disturbing all at the same time. Here are some of his main contentions with Wright:

    1. Apocalyptic theology points to a new creation rather than a restored old creation. This kind of binary either/or approach I just find troubling. I more agree with Wright on this point.

    2. The new creation is into Christ’s life, not a renewed creation now. I’m not sure if Adams and Wright are really that far apart on this one except for possibly emphasis on the already or not yet?

    3. Adams says Christian theology determines epistemology and not the other way around. I actually have some problems with both Wright and Adams on this point. The focus should be a sacramental realism of a means of grace in Christian theology rather than apologetics and epistemology from my perspective.

    4. Adams takes a more Kierkegaardian approach and says T. F. Torrence realism is better than Wrights (I see both Torrence and Wright as critical-realists and Barthian so I really don’t see the difference).

    5. Wright’s approach is too Thomist for Adams (Grace perfecting nature as in the Thomas Aguinas tradition). I would take Wright’s perspective again over Adams.

    6. Lastly, Adams seems to be overly concerned with Wright’s historical critical “methodological naturalism.” Wright wants to do research that shows the reality of God whereas Adams wants to privilege God as the foundation of doing Christian historical study. Although I have some problems with the historical-critical method, I would again go forward with Wright here rather than Adams.

  • scotmcknight

    Is Adams an advocate of the apocalyptic Paul?

  • Phil Miller

    I love me some N.T. Wright, but $35 ($28 with promo) for a 122-page book is a bit steep… I’ll probably pick it up at some point, though.

  • Chris Criminger

    Hi Scot,
    The short answer is yes. I am not a Wright scholar so others may do a better job than me assessing Wright but I opt for Wright’s more catholic holistic reading of Paul than Douglas A. Campbell more Lutheran apocalyptic view which Adams would be more at home with (Scot, I don’t remember what you think of Campbell’s view vs. Wright?).

    PS – Adam’s uses a phrase in regards to Wright’s use of history as “methodological Arianism” which he got I believe from Campbell. I for one can’t stand these kind of rhetorical apologetics by one Christian against another. To bring up the ghost of Arianism is to associate Wright with heresy. I still hate the term “semi-pelagianism.” One could just as accurately say “semi-Augustinianism.” It just seems to me that people apply these kind of rhetorical devises to de-humanize someone else. Sorry about the rant!

  • scotmcknight

    I with Wright more than Campbell. Wait til you see John Barclay’s new book on Paul and the Gift. That will cut across several grains because he shows that there have been lopsided claims on what “grace” means.

  • KentonS

    Post-post-new perspective?

  • Is there overlap between the two? Or should we get both?

  • Jeremy Hayes

    Scot have you read much of Michael Gormans works? If you have what are your thoughts on his work?

  • scotmcknight

    I have read the cruciformity stuff… he’s got great stuff.

  • scotmcknight

    I shall read both — indeed, I already have! The one advertised is much smaller and focused on five questions; the other one is a brilliant history of Pauline studies — ranks up there with Schweitzer’s Quest for me.

  • Jeremy Hayes

    His new book, Becoming the Gospel, was excellent. His eastern view of salvation (Theosis) is a view that I believe fits into your presentation of the gospel

  • mbells

    thanks for the discount code

  • Chris Criminger

    Hi Donald,
    What person or book would you recommend for this perspective as the best? I’m thinking Mark Nanos and company. I will say John Gager is coming out with a massive new work soon.

  • Kenneth

    122 pages for 35 bucks? Is this really just a stewardship test?