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We have grown used to the battles over Jesuswhether he was human or divine, whether he could do miracles or just inspire them, whether he even existed. Much of the church defends tradition, while critics take shots at the institution and its beliefs. But what if these debates have masked the real story of Jesus? What if even Jesuss defenders have been so blinded by their focus on defending the churchs traditions that they have failed to grapple with what the New Testament really teaches?
Bible scholar, Anglican bishop, and bestselling author N. T. Wright summarizes a lifetime of study of Jesus and the New Testament in order to present for a general audience who Jesus was and is. In Simply Jesus, we are invited to hear one of our leading scholars introduce the story of the carpenters son from Nazareth as if we were hearing it for the first time.
Jesusthe Jesus we might discover if we really looked, explains Wright, is larger, more disturbing, more urgent than we had ever imagined. We have successfully managed to hide behind other questions and to avoid the huge, world-shaking challenge of Jesuss central claim and achievement. It is we, the churches, who have been the real reductionists. We have reduced the kingdom of God to private piety; the victory of the cross to comfort for the conscience; Easter itself to a happy, escapist ending after a sad, dark tale. Piety, conscience, and ultimate happiness are important, but not nearly as important as Jesus himself. As the church faces the many challenges of the twenty-first century, Wright has presented a vision of Jesus that more than meets them.
N. T. Wright is the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England and one of the worlds 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. For twenty years Wright taught New Testament studies at Cambridge, McGill, and Oxford Universities, and he has been featured on ABC News, Dateline, The Colbert Report, and Fresh Air. Wright is the award-winning author of After You Believe, Surprised by Hope, Simply Christian, The Challenge of Jesus, and The Meaning of Jesus (coauthored with Marcus Borg), as well as the much-heralded series Christian Origins and the Question of God.
“N. T. Wright’s introduction to Jesus is erudite (and yet also entertaining), and decidedly thought-provoking. Somewhat to my surprise, I felt that, in reading Simply Jesus, I was really coming to know Jesus better; reading Simply Jesus, I actually felt Him near.”
-Lauren F. Winner, author of Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
“Tom Wright is, as always, brilliant at distilling immense scholarship into vivid, clear and accessible form. This book is yet another of his great gifts to the worldwide church.”
-Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
“No one living today is writing more thoughtfully and compellingly about Christian theology than N.T. Wright. With Simply Jesus, he takes readers on an illuminating intellectual expedition to recover the Christian Messiah. If you have not read Wright, start now, and start with this book.”
-Jon Meacham, author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
“Tom Wright has a fresh way of presenting the story of Jesus, the one and only Savior and Lord of the four canonical Gospels. This book retrieves Jesus from the margins of contemporary ideologies and places him once again at the heart of biblical faith. A compelling read!”
-Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture
“Wright patiently explains the world views that Jesus stepped into, how his parables point to his mission, and, finally, what this truth means in today’s world. Wright’s direct style, reminiscent of C. S. Lewis’ writings, invites readers in but allows for internal argument.”
-Booklist (starred review)
When today’s leading New Testament theologian has something new to say about anything, readers pay attention. In his latest work, he again exhibits his gift for making in-depth scholarship vivid and accessible.
-Kimberly Mauck, The Christian Chronicle