Tom Wright Calls for Theologians and Biblical Exegetes to Work Together

Tom Wright Calls for Theologians and Biblical Exegetes to Work Together April 15, 2019

Bible scholar and former Anglican Bishop N. T. (Tom) Wright is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St. Mary’s College at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. That can’t be all bad since St. Andrews is the birthplace of golf. However, some crusty ole Dutchmen will argue with that one. Tom is generally recognized by his peers and religious publishers as being at the top of his craft for decades now.

Tom Wright is also a friend of mine. One time we were planning to play golf together, but it didn’t work out.

In this month’s issue of Christianity Today–the premier Christian magazine in the U.S.–Tom Wright calls for Christian theologians, Christian philosophers, and biblical exegetes to work together more closely. Indeed, I’m told that for a long time the academy has recognized somewhat of a disjunct between these disciplines. As Tom explains, “Christian theologians and [Christian] philosophers regularly claim that their thinking is grounded in Scripture. But they seldom pay the text the kind of close attention expected in contemporary biblical studies. . . . Theologians’ engagement with Scripture often lapses into proof-texting with little regard for the authors’ thought-worlds and original intentions.”

Tom further explains, “This can allow Christian theology and philosophy to escape into mere speculation, grounded on nothing more than the researcher’s intuitions and some parts of post-biblical tradition. The inadequacies of this method are obvious: It is like trying to water a garden having first detached the hosepipe from the main tap. There may be some water left in the hose, but it won’t go far.

Tom Wright, who has a strong English accent that is pleasing to hear, continues, “The same is true in the reverse: Biblical scholars need to engage with theologians.” He makes this comparison, “As in ground-breaking scientific research, collaborative teamwork is the name of the game.”

Tom Wright, who also is rather witty, concludes, “Sharply focused study remains vital, but contemporary theological discussion is seriously hindered when specialization [by biblical exegetes] turns into isolation. For the sake of the church, it is my hope that this can change.”

See my following, previous posts about Tom Wright. The last one I hesitate to include since it appears arrogant. With my being a futurist, I oppose his partial preterism:

Tom Wright Says Jesus Didn’t Know He Was God

Does Tom Wright Believe Jesus Is God?

Tom Wright’s Faulty Eschatology



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