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Jesus and the Victory of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Volume 2) Paperback – August 1, 1997

4.7 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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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 serving as the chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews. He is the author of over 50 books including the highly acclaimed series Christian Origins and the Question of God.
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Product Details

  • Series: Christian Origins and the Question of God (Paperback) (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 741 pages
  • Publisher: Fortress Press; unknown edition (August 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800626826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800626822
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Is it coincidence that it falls to a British scholar, Tom Wright, to be, arguably, the major stumbling block in the way of an ever-active Jesus Seminar with its witty, aphorism-producing Jesus? British scholarship has always been more conservative than that produced in the States and this is shown here in Wright's argument for a Jesus who sees himself as a representative both of God and of Israel, one who is seen as releasing Israel from exile and the power of her enemies (spiritual and temporal) and "reconstructing Israel around himself".
Wright's thesis, for all his conservatism, is both bold and distinctive. He holds to an "eschatological" Jesus, one who has a future aspect to his theology and also one who, in Crossan-like ways, has compassion for the poor and the outcast of Palestinian society in his acts of healing and eating. Wright though, in distinction from Crossan and the Jesus Seminar, is, it seems, looking to give an historical account of the historical Jesus which can dovetail nicely with a more traditional reading of the Synoptic Gospels and the New Testament more generally. In this book you will not find a plethora of references to either the Gospel of Thomas or to the Q Gospel. Instead, you will find historical argument, replete with numerous biblical and extra-biblical Jewish quotations and texts, which aims to build up a picture of a Jewish prophet and more than a prophet. This does not, in my opinion, spill over into worship or sycophancy but the argument is carefully pitched so as not to upturn too many applecarts. One might almost call it "historical evangelism" but I hope that by using that term readers wil not think that this book is either crassly evangelistic or proselytizing; it is neither.
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Format: Paperback
Wright attempts to portray Jesus by examining the synoptic accounts in light of the appropriate 1st century setting; challenging the views of other scholars on all sides along the way while offering what he considers to be the most probable historical reconstruction. In the process, he offers original and distinctive interpretations that bring the materials to life.
Traditional scholarly criteria for determining the authenticity of Jesus material primarily utilizes the criterion of similarity (if it was the same or similar to his environment it was not authentic) and dissimilarity (if it was not something found in his environment it was authentic). Wright, as many other scholars finds these to be insufficient and arbitrary. The probability is that Jesus was both like and unlike contemporary Judiasm and the early Christian community, which is to say that there must be both continuity and discontinuity between Jesus and Judaism and the the early community.
In his first volume to the series, The New Testament and the People of God, Wright has laid out the worldview of 2nd temple Judaism, as well as that of the earliest Christian community. In the present volune, Wright sets the Jesus material in this context.
C.K. Barrett once stated that after years of study he was now reluctant to claim that the synoptics portrayed Jesus as Messiah. Wright, by setting Jesus in the context of the Judaism of his day, finds such a claim on virtually every page. Instead of focusing, as traditional scholarship has done, on individual words, phrases, forms, etc., or on explicit testimony, he shows that the symbols and stories everywhere portray Jesus as the eschatological prophet and Messiah of Israel, who speaks and acts for YHWH and embodies the coming of YHWH as King.
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Format: Paperback
When I read A. N. Wilson on Jesus, I closed the book and thought, "That's a pretty good book, about Wilson." When I read Crossan, I thought, "Here is the man who should have written the Book of Mormon." Wright first suggested to me the hope that historical criticism might actually have something of value to say about Jesus.
Wright's approach has many virtues. He is intimately familiar with an incredible amount of scholarly literature on the subject, and refers to it in a way that is always thoughtful. He seldom arbitrarily discards evidence merely because it doesn't fit his theory, as many do. His favorite critical device is what he calls the principle of "double similarity, double disimilarity." He shows that, while most of the synoptic material makes sense both within the Jewish community, and as the template for the new Christian religion, it also differs from both traditions in ways that strongly suggest the marks of individuality, that neither ordinary Jews nor Christians would have invented for Jesus.
This is a helpful approach, in my opinion, though not so unique as Wright seems to think. Readers with literary or psychological sensitivity have been making similiar, less systematic but sometimes even more insightful, observations for a long time. See, for example, G. K. Chesterton (Everlasting Man), Philip Yancey (The Jesus I Never Knew), M. Scott Peck, Per Beskow (Strange Tales About Jesus) or C. S. Lewis (Fernseeds and Elephants -- an essay Wright scoffs at, but that grows in my estimation the more I read of modern Biblical criticism). I think any reader can discern the unique style of Jesus in the Gospels. To a certain extent, Wright is just approaching the unique character of Jesus' sayings in a more formal, and less intuitive, manner.
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