Review: The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is

The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and IsThe Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is by N.T. Wright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A thoroughly engaging and challenging book that requires, nay demands, the reader to reconsider the need to engage in the historical process of attempting to discover Jesus, not in terms of the Christian presentation of Jesus, but in terms of the historical Jesus firmly rooted in the reality of the historical setting of the first-century. In doing so, the reader and inquirer is better able to understand the significance of the reality of Jesus as Messiah and Christ.

The writings of Wright contained in this book had their origin in a series of public addresses, but they have been added to and refined for publication in this volume. This second edition features a new preface, together with some updates flowing from his continuing scholarship, and is, in my estimation, much the richer for it.

For any Christian who wishes to be better connect with the truth and reality that sits at the very centre of the Christian faith, i.e. the person of Jesus, his Death and Resurrection, this book is a must read.

From the back cover:

Today a renewed and vigorous scholarly quest for the historical Jesus is underway. In the midst of well-publicized and controversial books on Jesus, N.T. Wright’s lectures and writings have been widely recognized for providing a fresh, provocative and historically critical portrait of Jesus.

Out of his own commitment to both scholarship and Christian ministry, Wright challenges us to roll up our sleeves and take seriously the study of the historical Jesus. He writes,

Many Christians have been, frankly, sloppy in their thinking and talking about Jesus, and hence, sadly, in their praying and in their practice of discipleship. We cannot assume that by saying the word Jesus, still less the word Christ, we are automatically in touch with the real Jesus who walked and talked in first-century Palestine … Only by hard, historical work can we move toward a fuller comprehension of what the Gospels themselves were trying to say.

The Challenge of Jesus, now with a new introduction by the author that brings the discussion up to date, poses a double-edged challenge. First is to grow in our understanding of the historical Jesus with the Palestinian world of the first century. Second is to follow Jesus more faithfully into the world of the twenty-first century.

A thoroughly engaging book; well worth reading.

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Article by Andrew Doohan

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