Surprised by Scripture: Engaging Contemporary Issues
As one of the primary noted Anglican theologians of our time, a new book by N.T. (Tom) Wright is always welcome. Surprisingly slim compared to some of his weightier tomes, this book is easy to consume.
Surprised by Scripture is unlike any other book by Tom Wright. How? It’s a collection of essays already found elsewhere. Having said that, Surprised by Scripture is like every other Tom Wright book: his well-paced apologetic theology is engaging and attentive. With a thought process that is at times conservative, at times post-liberal and always mindful of his lay audience, this book is well worth a dip.
Drawn together by the loose premise of “engaging contemporary issues” it is worth noting that Wright’s book can feel a little less unified than his usual work. There are themes that do reappear though. His focus on the ideas of Epicurean philosophy (that God if God exists, God is altogether separate and far away from humanity) finds expression a number of times. That can’t help but highlight the book’s origins as disparate essays. Many of these had been written for US journals or books, so were intended for an American evangelical audience. That was obvious at times, it has to be said. That many of the arguments found in this book find more fully realised expression in his other work can leave the reader feeling a little short-changed, too.
Having said that, for those with less time for reading, Surprised by Scripture allows an insight into the ideas of Wright and could be seen as a kind of sampler for his other writings. On that basis it’s altogether useful.