A book on Jesus

Well, it only took two+ years, but I finally finished NT Wright’s book, Jesus and the Victory of God. It’s really quite good, for what it is, an historian’s approach to Jesus in the tradition of the Quest for the Historical Jesus (or as Wright places himself, in the Third Quest). I’m not going to review it, other than to say, it’s an orthodox, if non-traditional, approach to the Jesus of history, and Wright uses the historian’s tools basically to uphold the Jesus of Scripture, and show that the best explanation for the early Church and the rise of Christianity is one which accepts the historicity of the Gospel accounts, putting them into their first century Jewish context. All in all a very good 650 pages of reading.

I just was going to quote some of the final lines from the book. Wright is at his best when he is examining (and finding wanting) much of contemporary scholarship’s explanations for Jesus, setting Jesus in his First Century Jewish context, and looking at the resurrection. Here are some good words:

If Jesus was as I have described him, and if his death was the end, it was the end. He becomes like Judas the Galilean or Simeon ben Kosiba, only somewhat more interesting; …a Messiah who died at the hands of the pagans, instead of winning YHWH’s battle against them, was a deceiver, as the latter rabbis (and Christians) said of Bar-Kochba.
Why then did people go on talking about Jesus of Nazareth, except as a remarkable but tragic memory? The obvious answer is the one given by all early Christians actually known to us ( as opposed to those invented by modern mythographers): Jesus was raised from the dead.

Good stuff, and worht 659 pages of reading to get to!


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