Why do you look for the living among the dead?


Tom Wright, retired Bishop of Durham, now a professor of New Testament studies at St Andrews University, has written over fifty books, nearly all of them concerned with Jesus and most with the question of reconstructing the first-century Palestinian Judaism from which Christianity perhaps sprang. His latest book, with a title which in itself begs many questions, can be seen either as a devotional manual, or as a distillation of a lifetime’s scholarly work, or both. Readers are urgently encouraged to see the world as a first-century Jew would have seen it. Whether Wright succeeds in his task will depend, in part, on the reader’s tolerance of the hectoring tone. “I was trying to explain all this” – no less a matter than God’s overlordship of the world, which surely cannot be explained – “earlier this morning and back came the reply, ‘But I thought God was supposed to be in charge already, all the time?’ Ah, now we’re talking.” Chilling in its clumsiness is the metaphor Wright uses to define the post-Easter world: “Under new management”. Whereas the New Testament speaks of the Kingdom of God, or the Kingdom of Heaven, this author writes of “the vital part of the way in which Jesus operates right now, today, as part of his kingdom-project”.

more from A.N. Wilson at the TLS here.