"We cannot assume that by saying the word Jesus
," writes N.T. Wright--Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey and formerly Dean of Lichtifeld Cathedral--"still less the word Christ
, we are automatically in touch with the real Jesus who talked in first-century Palestine." Even less are we automatically in touch with "the Jesus who ... is the same yesterday, today and forever." Wright's goal in this volume is to present in a simplified form the findings that are occupying him in his monumental six-volume series entitled Christian Origins and the Question of God
, and in particular in the second volume, already published, Jesus and the Victory of God
. Distinguishing himself from the "Jesus Seminar" theologians, who question the literalness of the resurrection (among other things), Wright affirms the absolute centrality of both the Last Supper and the Easter experience as historical events. Through these experiences with Jesus, Wright suggests, the early Christians came to see that "Jesus--and then, very quickly, Jesus' people--were now the true Temple, and the actual building in Jerusalem was thereby redundant."
Written with refreshing clarity and passion, The Challenge of Jesus serves as an excellent introduction to the thinking of this influential New Testament historian. --Doug Thorpe
From Publishers Weekly
Here, prolific Anglican theologian and historical Jesus quester Wright makes accessible to lay readers the arguments he laid out in his scholarly tome Jesus and the Victory of God. But Wright does more than just rehash old arguments; he adds a discussion of the resurrection, absent from Victory, and addresses the prickly problem of relevance. In the first six chapters, Wright tackles many of the questions of the historical Jesus debate: Did Jesus believe the Kingdom of God was "now" or "later"? (Both, says Wright.) Did He know He was God in the same way "that one knows one is hungry or thirsty"? ("It was not a mathematical knowledge.... It was more like the knowledge that I have that I am loved by those closest to me.") What exactly happened on Easter? (Jesus' body seemed both physical and transphysical.) Wright then addresses how all these historical-cum-theological musings are significant for Christians living in a postmodern world. This superb addition to Wright's oeuvre will prove fruitful reading for neophytes as well as for those already familiar with his approach. (Jan.)
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