- More on “The Last Word”
- “The Last Word” and “Literal” Interpretation
- Interpretive Methods in “The Last Word”
- The Bible as Drama in “The Last Word”
Here’s an experiment: can I blog through a book that I’m reading while in the midst of a term that will be incredibly busy? I hope so.
I bought N.T. Wright’s The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of Scripture at a used bookstore in the summer, but then I lent it to my friend Joel who had it as a required text for a theology class last term. I just got it back from him and I should be able to read through it in a relatively short period of time. I hope to read through it and, if my readers are up for it, blog through and discuss some of the issues raised by the book.
Here’s a beginning: Chapters 1 and 2 contextualize the Bible’s authority within Church history and culture, respectively, via concise sketches. Wright encourages readers who are familiar with the rudiments of both Church history and the zeitgeist to skip over these parts. I read them, but will not repeat their content here. Here’s a great quote to start us off:
We now arrive at the central claim of this book: that the phrase ‘authority of scripture’ can only make Christian sense if it is a shorthand for ‘the authority of the triune God, exercised through scripture.’…
…The letter to the Hebrews speaks glowingly of God speaking through scripture in time past, but insists that now, at last, God has spoken through his own son (1.1-2). Since these are themselves ‘scriptural’ statements, that means that scripture itself points authoritatively (if it does indeed possess authority!) away from itself and to the fact that final and true authority belongs to God himself, now delegated to Jesus Christ…
The familiar phrase, ‘the authority of scripture,’ thus turns out to be more complicated than it might at first sight appear. This hidden complication may perhaps be the reason why some current debates remain so sterile.
Can Wright avoid these hidden complications? Obviously he thinks so, and I’ll see what we think as I continue to blog through this book.