N.T. Wright is one of the premier New Testament scholars in the world right now, but his views not least some of those set out in Paul in Fresh Perspective are quite controversial.
He is part of a group of scholars (by no means agreed among themselves) arguing for the "New Perspective on Paul," or NPP. Wright is the foremost NPP popularizer. He is an engaging speaker and lucid writer who works admirably hard at bringing his view to lay people.
However, Paul in Fresh Perspective is not easy reading and not quite for most lay people. This small book (just 174 pages of text and a few endnotes) comprises the Hulsean Lectures Wright delivered at Cambridge. These lectures, Wright says, are a further development beyond another small book he wrote, What St. Paul Really Said. In Paul in Fresh Perspective Wright hits themes familiar from that earlier book: the narrative of creation and covenant, Messiah and apocalyptic, and gospel and empire.
The most controversial of Wright's emphases are those which have a bearing on justification. He is famous for arguing that justification is not about how you get into God's family; it's proof that you are in. It's God's declaration that you are, in fact, part of His covenant family. He thus questions the traditional Reformation doctrine of imputation.
In the second half of Paul in Fresh Perspective, Wright takes Jewish theology as an organizing principle for laying out a Pauline theology, viewing it through the three primary lenses of monotheism, election, and eschatology. This is a work with a popular look but a scholarly appeal. It appears to be a forerunner to the fourth volume of what will likely prove Wright's magnum opus, the New Testament and the People of
God series. It will bring readers up to date on the thinking of a very good writer and important scholar and theologian. --Mark L. Ward, Jr., Chrisitan Library Journal, June 2007
About the Author
N. T.Wright is the Bishop of Durham and the author of several Fortress Press books, including Jesus and the Victory of God (1996), The Resurrection of the Son of God (2003), The New Testament and the People of God (1992), and The Climax of the Covenant (1992).