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The New Testament and the People of God/ Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol.1 Paperback – September 1, 1992


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Product Details

  • Series: Christian Origins and the Question of God (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 535 pages
  • Publisher: Fortress Press; 1st North American edition (September 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800626818
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800626815
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

N. T. Wright is the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England and one of the world's leading Bible scholars. He is now Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews and is a regular broadcaster on radio and television. He is the author of over sixty books, including The New Testament and the People of God (1992), Jesus and the Victory of God (1996), and The Resurrection of the Son of God (2003), published by Fortress Press.

More About the Author

N.T. WRIGHT is the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England and one of the world's leading Bible scholars. He is now serving as the Chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews. For twenty years he taught New Testament studies at Cambridge, McGill and Oxford Universities. As being both one of the world's leading Bible scholars and a popular author, he has been featured on ABC News, Dateline, The Colbert Report, and Fresh Air. His award-winning books include The Case for the Psalms, How God Became King, Simply Jesus, After You Believe, Surprised by Hope, Simply Christian, Scripture and the Authority of God, The Meaning of Jesus (co-authored with Marcus Borg), as well as being the translator for The Kingdom New Testament. He also wrote the impressive Christian Origins and the Question of God series, including The New Testament and the People of God, Jesus and the Victory of God, The Resurrection of the Son of God and most recently, Paul and the Faithfulness of God.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I was stretched as I read this book.
Adam Smith
Ironically, it is Wright's arguments that offer the most credible explanation for the origin of the NT material.
Sam Simpson IV
I promptly ordered that book as soon as I finished this first volume.
D. D. Deveaux

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Terry B. Cullom on December 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
Any attempt to characterize this book is like trying to bottle a whirlwind--it is a massive, heavily documented, and well argued case for a historical understanding of the origin of Christianity. Basically, Wright argues for: 1) a proper historical methodology, 2) a 2nd-temple Jewish background for Jesus & the N.T., and 3) a Jewish Messianic understanding of earliest Christian community.
According to Wright, there is no such thing as a totally "objective" neutral view of reality; and while the N.T. offers an "interpretation" of Jesus, it is precisely the historical Jesus who is presented to us--rather than distorting Jesus, or creating a figure, to express their own private perspective, their witness brings out the "real" significance of the historical Jesus. Thus Wright argues for a "critical realism" methodology. Next Wright argues for a common worldview of 2nd temple Judaism, via an examination of its typical praxis, symbols, and beliefs. Then he argues that we can best understand Jesus, the N.T., and the earliest Christian community against this background. In all of these arguments, Wright draws upon numerous extant Jewish sources and references to other scholarly works.
Wright's treatment is comprehensive, massive, detailed, compelling, and original. His treatment of Jesus, the N.T., and the early Christian community against the Jewish background brings them to life, is believable and convincing; and throughout his book he critiques other scholarly positions and demonstrates how his offers a more probable accurate historical point of view. In the process, he destroys numerous traditional critical theories and sets the direction for all future discussion.
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176 of 182 people found the following review helpful By Sam Simpson IV on May 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
The first of Wright's projected six books in the series. I do not recommend reading out of sequence as you will find yourself overwhelmed by Wright's material. He is carefully constructing an argument that is complex, but the reader will find it rewarding. NTPG is footnoted extensively in the second book of the series, Jesus And The Victory Of God, so reading this book will save the time required to cross reference.
Wright offers a one stop veiw of previous NT research, and expalnation of methodology (both his and other's), and a comprehensive analysis of first century Palenstine. The material lays the ground work for his belief that current NT scholarship is missing the forest in its focus on the trees.
Wright rebuts the current work of the Jesus Seminar, Form Criticism, and other popular researchers that seek to deconstruct the NT in an effort to make the material easier to digest rationally. Ironically, it is Wright's arguments that offer the most credible explanation for the origin of the NT material.
This book is not an easy read, and may require a refresher course in history, methodology, and some of the social sciences. I found myself dusting of books not read since college to familiarize myself with some of Wright's references. But the whole experience is well worth the effort.
This book calls into question most of the liberal scholarship and much of the "traditional orthodox" research. I believe it will change the focus of NT Studies once the series is complete.
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143 of 152 people found the following review helpful By NotATameLion on August 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
Part of me wants to give N.T. Wright's "The New Testament and the People of God" five stars. Another part is leaning towards three. I'm gonna split the difference and give this monolith of a book four stars.
Wright is one of my favorite authors. This does not mean I agree with him all of the time. His critiques of those he disagrees with theologically are masterful. He lays careful foundations for his own work. His methods are generally quite solid. A lot of his conclusions are insightful. However, there are some things about Wright's work that leave me puzzled. For instance, I cannot understand his insistence that Jesus didn't really "know" know that he was the Son of God.
This notwithstanding, "The New Testament and the People of God" is an excellent first volume in what will no doubt be Wright's magnum opus: "Christian Origins and the Question of God ." This first volume sees Wright laying out the principles he uses while doing his work, discussing the history of much of the work that was done preceding him, and examining the world Jesus was born into.
The length of five hundred pages is deceptive. "The New Testament and the People of God"is a very dense read. It is heavily (though not too heavily) footnoted. Its ideas take adequate time for reflection to digest. I would even go so far as to suggest that reader either unfamiliar with Wright's work or not used to reading theology or books about the historical Jesus start with one of Wright's more popular books in preparation for reading this series. I would recommend starting with a book such as "The Way of the Lord," "The Challenge of Jesus," or "The Crown and the Fire" instead of starting cold on a massive undertaking like "The New Testament and the People of God." Wright is a great writer. You don't want to turn yourself off to him by jumping into the deep waters before you're ready.
I recommend this book highly.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Samuel M Smith on July 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is the first volume in N.T. Wright's series of books on "The question of God," and Wright spends the first quarter of the book explaining and defining the methodology he intends to apply to the task. This makes for some tedious reading if one has never studied (or studied and found horribly boring) literary theory or historical method. But it is important to the argument he is making. I went back and read it again once I got into the "good stuff" (the historical background of Second Temple Judaism) just so I wouldn't miss any of the finer points he was making.

Wright's interpretation of Second Temple Judaism is a variation on E.P. Sanders and J.D.G. Dunn's "New Perspective", which denies that the Jews in Jesus' time believed they could earn salvation through acts of covenantal loyalty. Wright parts ways with Sanders at several imporant points, though, including the historicity of Jesus' debates with the Pharisees (which he explores more fully in "Jesus and the Victory of God") and seems to be less interested in doing apologetics for Second Temple Jews than Sanders.

But with Sanders, he argues for a pluriform Judaism. He cites scads of ancient texts which catalogue the debates between the Pharisaical schools of Shammai and Hillel, the separatist Essenes and the Sadducess. These groups all expected the "forgiveness of sin" to involve YHWH moving decisively against those who refused to acknowledge him in the way he deserved, which included not only the Gentiles, but also members of the other sects of Judaism which did not hold to their belief system, and to exalt their particular group as the true children of Israel, returned from exile at last.
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