N.T. Wright’s understanding of Jesus

N.T. (Tom) Wright is a favourite theologian of mine. I appreciate his approach to the New Testament. He is a historian by training, and he researches the background to the New Testament writings punctiliously in order to cast light on what the earliest Christians believed, on the principle that their beliefs should inform the faith of today’s believers.

A week or so ago I came across a summary I had written in 2010 (or perhaps earlier) of Wright’s chapters in a book published in 2000, The meaning of Jesus: two visions (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco). Its two authors, Marcus Borg and Tom Wright, contributed alternating chapters such that each pair of chapters was on a particular Jesus-related topic. I don’t have access to the book now, but I think the topics are (more or less?) reflected in the section headings of my summary.

Wright’s chapters provided me with an excellent introduction to how he sees Jesus (this must be one of the first writings of his that I read), and I am putting the pdf of my notes here in the hope that someone else might find it useful.

I should add, though, that various aspects of Wright’s theology are developed much further in more recent books. Surprised by hope (London: SPCK, 2007) is a study of early Christian beliefs about resurrection and eternity. How God became King: Getting to the heart of the Gospels (London: SPCK, 2012) majors on the Kingdom-oriented gospel that Jesus himself preached and that was central to early Christian faith, which saw Jesus as the culmination of Israel’s story, and his crucifixion and resurrection as the arrival of God’s Kingdom. Virtue reborn (London: SPCK, 2010) talks about how Christians may live in and celebrate that Kingdom. Most recently, The day the revolution began: Reconsidering the meaning of Jesus' crucifixion (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2016) is, as its subtitle suggests, a penetrating study of the meaning of the crucifixion as early Christians saw it, that is, of what happened on the cross and how this makes a difference to humanity, and of how Christians should live as a consequence.