This is Tom Wright’s response to the wave of controversial books and theories on the historical Jesus. Responding to theories that Jesus was married, fathered children, divorced and then remarried, and other claims that the doctrine of the Virgin Birth has caused the oppression of women, Tom Wright outlines these arguments and presents solid reasons for discounting the theories.
Whilst he agrees that the real historical Jesus may have some surprises for the institutional Church, he reveals that these ‘quests’ for the real Jesus display many variations on the same themes and shows that these theories are not as novel as they are made out to be. Written from the standpoint of professional Biblical scholarship yet assuming no prior knowledge of the subject, Wright shows convincingly that much can be gained from rigorous historical assessment of what the Gospels’ themselves say about Jesus.
“First, what was Jesus’ relationship with the Judaism of his day?” (Page 17)
“One of the most obvious features of this ‘Third Quest’ has been the bold attempt to set Jesus firmly into his Jewish context.” (Page 13)
“Jesus believed himself called to go out ahead of Israel, to meet the judgment in her place, alone.” (Page 101)
“The strange thing about Jesus’ announcement of the Kingdom of God was that he managed both to claim that he was fulfilling the old prophecies, the old hopes, of Israel and to do so in a way which radically subverted them. The Kingdom of God is here, he seemed to be saying, but it’s not like you thought it was going to be.” (Page 98)
“Second, therefore, it meant a setting of mounting expectation” (Page 94)
Nicholas Thomas “Tom” Wright (1948–) is a New Testament scholar, Pauline theologian, and Anglican bishop and currently Research Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Early Christianity at St. Mary's College in the University of St Andrews and Senior Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. Christianity Today named him one of today's top theologians.
Wright was born in Morpeth, Northumberland, and recounts an awareness of God's presence from a young age—and that relationship with God ever since is reflected in his life and work. He's a prolific author; one of his most popular books, Surprised by Hope, frames the resurrection of the dead as the appropriate hope for all believers rather than an overemphasis on just "going to heaven when you die." He's among the leading theologians in the New Perspective on Paul debate. Wright has several honorary doctoral degrees, and in 2014, the British Academy awarded him the Burkitt Medal "in recognition of special service to biblical studies." In 2015, he was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Wright served as chaplain at Cambridge from 1978 to 1981, then as assistant professor of New Testament language and literature at McGill University in Montreal. Before becoming a chaplain, tutor, lecturer, and fellow at Oxford in 1986, Wright served as dean of Lichfield Cathedral, canon theologian of Westminster Abbey, and the bishop of Durham from 2003–10. In addition to the entire New Testament for Everyone Series, some of N. T. Wright's books include The New Testament in Its World: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the First Christians, Who Was Jesus, The New Testament and the People of God, God and the Pandemic, Evil and the Justice of God, Surprised by Hope, and Simply Christian. He coauthored Jesus the Final Days with Craig A. Evans.