Monday, October 23, 2017

Tom Wright and the Search for Truth: A Theological Evaluation

Dr. Tom Holland, a Research Supervisor at Union School of Theology, has a new book out (available for pre-order on Kindle) which will critically evaluate the writings of NT Wright. Here are some of the reviews ahead of the book's publication on October 31st:

"Tom Holland provides a long overdue and thorough critique of the biblical scholarship of Tom Wright. Holland poses many excellent questions that point to fundamental, unrecognized, and potentially very damaging flaws in many of Wright’s methods and arguments. In an uncomfortable number of instances, Holland argues, Wright is just plain old wrong! Holland particularly identifies how the Second Temple Literature, as well as Hellenism as a whole, provides an unnecessary and unjustified foundation for Wright’s interpretations, especially of Paul. Holland does more than simply show how and where he believes Wright is in error; he presents numerous constructive and viable alternatives that merit further consideration. Regardless of whether one accepts these alternatives, if Holland is right in his fundamental criticisms, then Wright has a lot of explaining (and revising) to do!" -- Stanley E. Porter, President and Dean, Professor of New Testament, , McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 

"I have long felt that someone ought to write a comprehensive, probing critique of N. T. Wright’s theological thought. I’m very grateful to Tom Holland for tackling this challenging, yet much-needed task. Holland rightly, I believe, raises serious concerns regarding Wright’s methodology, which tends to elevate Second Temple literature above the Hebrew Scriptures. While Wright is correct in his efforts to peel back layers of Reformation tradition in reading Paul, Holland shows that Wright’s own methodology does not always live up to the noble aims of the critical realism he espouses. No doubt there is much to learn from Wright’s scholarly contribution. The way forward, however, I believe, is subjecting Wright’s work to the kind of constructive critique Holland has provided. It is my hope that this volume marks the beginning of an even more thoroughgoing scrutiny of Wright’s reconstructed synthesis-with the result that Paul’s thought can be discerned more cogently from the New Testament documents against the most important ancient background, which surely must be the inspired canonical contributions of the Old Testament writers. Even the most ardent followers of Wright, not to mention Wright himself, will want to take note of this measured, yet pointed and sustained interaction." -- Andreas J. Kostenberger, Senior Research Professor of New Testament & Biblical Theology, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Founder of Biblical Foundations ( 

"In this corner we have a veritable library made up of N. T. Wright’s numerous books. And in this corner, now we have Tom Holland’s Tom Wright and the Search for Truth, which offers a ringside view of a sometimes bruising collision of perspectives. Holland presses some issues that echo queries already posed. Yet he offers a sustained critique of Wright’s exegesis and its informing premises that breaks new ground. Particularly insightful is his demonstration of ways Second Temple sources control Wright’s interpretations when New and Old Testament writings more likely furnish interpretive keys. Where Wright prefers a monolithic definition of “covenant,” Holland shows the varying meanings Paul (and other biblical writers) conveys with the word. While Holland is appreciative of Wright at many points, and while there is much more to say in assessment of Wright pro and con, Holland’s probing and robust, Old Testament-based alternatives to Wright’s often shaky and tendentious reconstructions will stimulate scholarship. Holland’s book will free some readers from unwarranted enchantment with Wright and enable them to arrive at more fruitful understandings of especially Pauline texts and their redemptive message." -- Robert W. Yarbrough, Professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO, USA