Monday, December 6

Book Review: The Challenge of Jesus

N.T. Wright has written a little book, The Challenge of Jesus. This book, he tells us, was brought together by patching several lectures he gave, with a few chapters to tie it together. I have to say, this is one of the most interesting books I have read in the last year. As a result, several more of his books, which go into the topic at hand in far more detail, are now winging their way to my domicile courtesy of Amazon.

In this book, Mr Wright uses what we know historically about the 1st century Hebrew people and the Old and New Testament accounts to answer the following five questions (and I quote):
  1. Where does Jesus belong within the Jewish world of his day?
  2. What, in particular, was his preaching of the kingdom all about? What was he aiming to do?
  3. Why did Jesus die? In particular, what was his own intention in going to Jerusalem that last fateful time?
  4. Why did the early church begin, and why did it take the shape it did? Specifically, of course, what happened at Easter?
  5. How does all this relate to the Christian task and vision today?

Mr Wright, I must say, is one of the clearer and approachable theological writers today at least in my (admittedly small) repetoire. Although, clearly this book was not written for the specialist, I'm hoping that the three books on their way to me are also as devoid of jargon. As for his discussions and conclusions, I found them logical, approachable, and convincing. On the other hand, they certainly aren't currently canonical. But for this modern reader, in a post-modern world, like Augustine in Confessions, he managed to find me where I live. His methods of interpreting scripture and his eschatological interpretation of events are different than I've seen or heard elsewhere. But I think his interpretation of St. Paul and the message of Christ himself, is not a great step away from canon (if at all). It's just easier for the modern man to accept.

I don't personally feel the call to "blog" or write essays on the short 8 chapters of this book, unless I get requests for such from you my gentle reader. After all I've read it now and unlike the Confessions, I didn't have to work overly hard to get through it.