Jesus, Paul and the People of God | Nicholas Perrin & Richard B. Hays, eds.

It had to be awkward. The good theologians at Wheaton College threw a Theology Conference based solely on the theology of N. T. Wright, and invited him to come and respond. Wright handled the situation with aplomb, though, challenging misunderstandings of his theology, agreeing where there was more work to be done, and even getting excited about new connections previously unseen.

This book is the result of that 2010 conference. Half is about Jesus, the other half about Paul. Each half contains papers written by various theologians, each one briefly responded to by Wright. Then, at the end of each major section, Wright wrote a new paper about the current state of Jesus and Pauline studies.

Any book with this many contributors is bound to be a mixed bag, and that’s certainly the case here. Some contributors reminded me of that guy in the lecture that insisted on asking questions solely to demonstrate his own wisdom. So be it. Over all, the papers were stimulating, thoughtful, and readable—in the spirit of Wright’s style of doing theology.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the book was the last paper by Wright on the state of Pauline studies. As you may know, Wright is in the process of writing book four in his Christian Origins and the Question of God series on Paul. By the sounds of it, he has chosen to start with Philemon and ecclesiology, topics usually found closer to the appendix of a Pauline theology.

These papers, by their nature, assume a basic understanding of Wright’s theology. They are excellent reading for anyone who has studied N. T. Wright’s work.

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