Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters

by N. T. Wright

Hardcover, 2011





"We have grown used to the battles over Jesus-whether he was human or divine as well, whether he could do miracles or just inspire them, whether he even existed or not. Much of the church defends tradition and the critics take shots at that tradition. But what if these debates have masked the real story of Jesus from us? What if even Jesus's defenders in the church have been blinded by so focusing on these issues that it has prevented them from fully grappling with what the Gospels really teach? Bible scholar, Anglican bishop, and bestselling author N.T. Wright summarizes a lifetime of study of Jesus and the New Testament in order to present for a general audience who Jesus was and is. In SIMPLY JESUS, we are invited to hear one of our leading scholars introduce the story of carpenter's son from Nazareth as if we were hearing it for the first time. "Jesus-the Jesus we might discover if we really looked," explains Wright, "is larger, more disturbing, more urgent than we had ever imagined. We have successfully managed to hide behind other questions and to avoid the huge, world-shaking challenge of Jesus' central claim and achievement. It is we, the churches, who have been the real reductionists. We have reduced the kingdom of God to private piety; the victory of the cross to comfort for the conscience; Easter itself to a happy, escapist ending after a sad, dark tale. Piety, conscience and ultimate happiness are important, but not nearly as important as Jesus himself." As the church faces the many challenges of the twenty-first century, Wright has presented a vision of Jesus that more than meets them"--… (more)


HarperOne (2011), Edition: Illustrated, 256 pages


½ (56 ratings; 3.9)

User reviews

LibraryThing member oataker
He puts Jesus in the context of the ancient Jewish hope of independant rule confronting the oppression of Rome and then adds in a description of what seemed to have been in Jesus mind as he followed his course. Wright is rather keen on the perfect storm metaphor and sees Jesus as caught by these
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various winds, and he starts his book by describing the conflicting forces disagreeing about Jesus in our own day.
A lot of time is spent sorting out Jesus understanding of various old testament passages and coming to his own new understanding and application of them. He was himself the beginning of the Kingdom of God, replacing the temple and inaugurating the reign of God here on earth.
I gained better understanding of Jesus aims and in particular of the book of Acts. I think the emphasis on the kingdom here and now as well as in the future is true but there seems to be something lacking. I dont see a challenge to individuals, its all to communities or the church. I think we do have to challenge people to their faces and that they can expect personal satisfaction in following the King.
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LibraryThing member SCRH
Maybe I should have read earlier books by Wright prior to this one, but as a standalone, I found it to be a Blah! The author asks good, simple questions, essentially the basic ones of who, what, where, when, and why, but his answers aren't so simple, as they are wordy and sometimes difficult (for
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me) to follow.

The book includes a brief bibliography and and a Scripture index.
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LibraryThing member gdill
I read "The Challenge of Jesus" by N.T. Wright last year and wasn't impressed. I decided to give Wright a second chance by reading "Simply Jesus" and this time I found it much more interesting but still a rather dry read.

However, I was particularly struck by Wright's historical knowledge and
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insight into 1st century Palestine. His use of various illustrations to explain things also resonated with me. For instance, his use of the "perfect storm" to explain the three-fold conflict that was brewing upon Christ's entrance upon the world stage: 1) The Romans looked to Augustus Caesar as the "son of god" (son of Julius Caesar who was deified). 2) The Jews were in the midst of a 1,000+ year drama awaiting for their messiah to deliver them once again from their new oppressors. 3) The Jews were looking for the establishment of a new Jewish kingdom and expecting God to rule the world and essentially be king over all the earth.

Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah did indeed usher in God's kingdom upon the earth, but not in the way that the Jews were expecting. Instead, Jesus healed people and made them right, He forgave sins... something only God was able to do. Those who sensed God's presence in their lives were now healed, forgiven, and essentially set free... the new Jubilee. And, God truly became in charge with the establishment of His new kingdom on earth. He didn't rule from the temple instead He ruled through Christ, not by might, but through peace and forgiveness... as King over the Jews and the world.

Overall, not a bad book, but lacks anything new or riveting. The beginning was interesting but towards the middle of the book it became somewhat mundane and I struggled to finish it. When I crossed the finish line it left me wondering if Wright could have reduced the size of the book by at least 1/4 of the space it took to write it. After reading two of Wright's books I've come to the conclusion that Wright just isn't for me. Do I recommend the book? Probably not. But, I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it neither.
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LibraryThing member jasoncomely
A lot of noodling around, but goes nowhere. A waste of my time.
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