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Δικαιοσύνη Θεοῦ (Righteousness of God) and N. T. Wright

This paper has been temporally pulled and will be re-posted at a later date.


N. T. Wright, Bishop of Durham, has become in the last several years a household name among evangelicals. In some respects, he is emerging as the 21st century equivalent to Rudolf Bultmann. Both scholars are known for their synthesis of the NT message. They have written multiple volumes dealing especially with global treatments on the theology of the NT. They both have also written commentaries on various NT books, but this is not their primary contribution. In short, both Bultmann and Wright are biblical theologians. One basic difference is that whereas Bultmann was a theological liberal, Wright is an evangelical. Wright’s respect for the text is vastly higher than Bultmann’s was. And this means that his view of the historicity of the biblical record is significantly higher than Bultmann’s was as well.

In 1997, Wright’s What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity? appeared. This book principally addressed the old canard that Paul was the real originator of the Christianity that we know and that Jesus had an entirely different vision that got swallowed up by the apostle to the Gentiles. But in that book Wright also planted the seeds of his overarching view of Paul on justification. He continued to write on this topic, prompting pastor-scholar John Piper to pen a response, The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007).

Piper took issue quite a bit with how Wright had defined justification, critiquing him from the vantage point of a close reading of the text. Some say it was too close though, not allowing for the overarching themes and especially Jewish background to be read in certain contexts. Wright was not long silent, penning especially a volume that came out last May: Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision, appearing both in a paperback version (London: SPCK, 2009) and a hardback version (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2009).

Related Topics: Regeneration, Justification

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