Though we are taking a break from our book club discussions for the summer, I wanted to check in now and then to see how your summer reading is going.
I’m right in the middle of N.T. Wright’s Justification. Intended primarily as a response to John Piper’s criticism of the so-called “New Perspective” on Paul, it’s a fascinating read and much more accessible than I expected it to be...although there are moments when I find all the back-and-forth about the meaning of Greek words to be a bit tedious. (What were we saying the other day about the regular guy on the street not really caring about this stuff?)
Wright wrote something in the Introduction that really struck a cord with me. He described what he called a “large and difficult problem in Western Christianity” that is characterized by “the implicit clash between those who get their faith from the four Gospels, topped up with a few bits of Paul, and those who base it on Paul, topped up with a few illustrations from the Gospels.” (p. 26)
In that sentence, Wright succinctly describes a phenomenon I've been trying to put my finger on for years! Having been raised in a culture that seemed to emphasize Paul over the Gospels, I often find myself jumping to the other extreme by focusing solely on the teachings of Jesus to the neglect of Paul. What I love most about N.T. Wright is that he always manages to bring harmony to the two, more than any other biblical scholar I have encountered.
...Which is one of the many reasons why I generally trust his assessment of Scripture, and why I often turn to his Web site or his books when I have a question about a particular passage. I think we all have certain biblical scholars who we find ourselves being drawn to time and again, and whose reputation and credentials make them a trusted source for information and insight.
So, who do you trust when it comes to biblical scholarship? Got any “favorite” theologians?
What else are you reading? What’s next on your list?
I think I’m going to take a break from all this deep stuff to read The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde next!
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