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N. T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus 

Essentially unchanged from the first edition in 2000, but still the best introduction to Wright’s understanding of Jesus, his ministry, his death and resurrection

NT WrightThe Challenge of Jesus
By N. T. Wright
New Edition (SPCK, 2015 [2000])
ISBN: 978-0281052868
Reviewed by Andy Goodliff

Tom Wright has published more books than I have had birthdays (35 so far) and at the rate he writes I am perhaps unlikely to have more birthdays than he will have books. The Challenge of Jesus was originally published in 2000 and provided a more accessible version of his larger work Jesus and the Victory of God.

This new edition is unchanged from the first, apart from a new preface. If you have the previous edition, there is nothing really here to encourage you to buy the new edition. (SPCK has been issuing new editions of the majority of the Tom Wright back catalogue).

For those to whom this book is new, this is perhaps the best introduction to Wright’s understanding of Jesus, his ministry, his death and resurrection, some of which he has rehearsed in a new key in How God Became King (SPCK, 2014).

To a Christianity that has often not really known what to do with Jesus’ teaching of the kingdom of God, Wright has been an important voice in recovering the challenge of Jesus, not just his death and resurrection, but his whole ministry. Wright seeks to anchor his work in history as well as theology; he is at pains to present the historical Jesus. The book ends with two chapters on what the challenge of Jesus means for discipleship and again this demonstrates Wright’s concern that the church does not just know Jesus, but learns to follow him.

Wright is the leading British New Testament scholar, not just because of his output, but in his vision and interpretation of Jesus, the gospels and the letters of Paul. He is always readable, insightful, yet not infallible (there is, I think, helpful criticism of some what he argues). If you want to understand who and what Jesus was about this is a great place to start.

The Revd Andy Goodliff is minister of Belle Vue Baptist Church, Southend-on-Sea

Baptist Times, 14/04/2016
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