On The Trail Of NT Wrong, Part 5

On The Trail Of NT Wrong, Part 5 December 4, 2008

In the case of identity of the mysterious NT Wrong, surely Chris Tilling is above suspicion, right? Perhaps when it comes to the question of earlier underlying sources. But when it comes to the identity of the ecclesiastical redactor, the one ultimately responsible for the final form of the NT Wrong blog (which, from the perspective of literary-critical blog-reading, is all that matters), then who else could be at once so ecclesiastical and so redactional as Chris Tilling?

The name of the blog has long puzzled redaction critics, but if one poses that it arose from inept redactional activity, then the puzzle can be given a plausible solution.

The Ur-blogger behind the proto-NT Wrong blog was none other than John Shelby Spong. Chris Tilling came along, eager to stop Spong by promoting his own hero, N. T. Wright. He had to work stealthily, however, since the blog was not his own. In his haste, as he feared his hacking might be discovered, Tilling was not able to replace the last letters of Spong’s name with the final letters of Wright’s. The result was the clearly composite NT Wrong.

The lack of mention of Zwingli, if perhaps explicable in terms of an attempt by Jim West to disguise his identity, falters on the psychological implausibility of this scenario, for surely Jim West could not blog for more than half a year without mentioning Zwingli. It would have seemed to him like a betrayal. If one posits that all reference to Zwingli was removed by an anti-Westian redactor, then once again Chris Tilling fits the bill.

The truly shocking discovery I made in the course of my investigation is that Chris Tilling is itself a pseudonym. Feeling that his original choice of moniker, “Christ Illing”, would connect him too much with the undercurrent of 80s music on the NT Wrong blog (plus he is rather sensitive about his failed career as a Christian rap artist in that period of his life), this self same ecclesiastical redactor simply shifted a letter to produce Chris Tilling.

But if Chris Tilling is a pseudonym, and all we know about him for certain is that he buys people drinks at SBL and eats hats, then who is the real individual behind these multiple layers of masks? That answer will shock you all…

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