Tom Wright is possibly the most read and followed New Testament scholar in the world. His fresh and creative suggestions have captivated the attention of many and won their enthusiastic support. Despite this growing acceptance, his suggestions are not always embraced by his academic colleagues. Wright’s claims are scrutinized and debated in seminaries and university departments around the world.
Dr Tom Holland is the acknowledged world expert of a field of theology called Paschal New Exodus Theology. He has researched this field of study for over 40 years and the insights it has yielded have been acknowledged as ground breaking and have been welcomed by both the international scholarly community as well as church leaders. From this specialized knowledge, Holland explores the foundations that underpin the theology of Tom Wright. He was shocked by the results of this research which show Wright’s dependence on the opponents of apostolic teaching of the first and second centuries as his supporting evidence to uphold his claims concerning New Testament teaching. This is a book that all interested in Christ and His Kingdom will want to read and reflect on.
Here are a selection of endorsements for the new book:
Stanley E. Porter, President and Dean, Professor of New Testament, Roy A. Hope Chair in Christian Worldview, McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
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!
Andreas J. Kostenberger, Senior Research Professor of New Testament & Biblical Theology, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Founder of Biblical Foundations (www.biblicalfoundations.org)
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.
Philip H. Eveson, Former Principal of the London Seminary and Director of the John Owen Centre for Theological Study
As one who was among the first to alert the evangelical world to some of the dangers in Tom Wright’s views, I was fascinated to read Tom Holland’s careful analysis of Wright’s methodology in interpreting New Testament material as well as on his understanding of justification. Dr Holland’s study continues to develop the exegetical insights he has presented in previous works. While I have concerns about some of his conclusions, I greatly appreciate the way he has scrutinised Wright’s sources and has shown how we should understand Pauline themes such as redemption against the background of the Passover and the prophecies of Isaiah and Hosea. New Testament scholars cannot afford to ignore this radically fresh and biblical perspective.
Robert W. Yarbrough, Professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO, USA
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.
Dr Robert Letham, Director of Research, Senior Lecturer in Systematic and Historical Theology, Union School of Theology
Various new perspectives on Paul have made a huge impact on New Testament studies in the last forty years. In his scholarly work N.T. Wright has had perhaps the most influence on a wider readership. In this accessible treatment of Wright’s output, Dr Holland presents a careful, eirenic, and thorough examination of the influences and assumptions that have shaped Wright’s approach to the theology of Paul. He treats his arguments to critical but fair scrutiny. It is important that widely popular claims are made accountable in an informed manner. In achieving this Dr Holland provides us with a resource that will prove invaluable for reaching a coherent evaluation.
Mark Baker, Books at a Glance
N.T. Wright has perhaps received more critical engagement than any other biblical scholar in this generation. These critiques often focus on the fruit of Wright’s theology rather than its root. In contrast, Tom Holland’s work levels a critique that goes all the way to the methodological roots. On the surface, the reader will find that Holland’s theology is similar to Wright’s in many ways—Paul is essentially a Jewish theologian, the New Exodus theme is a key component to Paul’s theology, Paul emphasizes the corporate nature of salvation—but the roots of Holland’s theology are drinking from a different stream. The fruit of Holland’s Tom Wright and The Search for Truth provides refreshing and innovative insights paired with keen theological precision. Holland’s critique of Wright is marked by humility and kindness, and his own positive contribution is a rich feast for the heart and mind. I hope The Search for Truth finds wide acceptance in Pauline studies.
Fred G. Zaspel (PhD, Free University of Amsterdam) on the Gospel Coalition website
Few people have the breadth of learning and close acquaintance with the works of N. T. Wright that Tom Holland demonstrates in this book. An in-depth analysis of Wright has been needed, and Holland serves as an excellent guide. For those who are acquainted with Wright, Holland is a must.
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