Saturday, June 21, 2014

Book Review: Paul and the Faithfulness of God (Parts I and II)

Not often is Page 570 the break point in a book and one not even half through at that. This book continues on up to around 1500 in Parts III and IV. Not since I've read fantasy novels have I encountered a story this long. But, as with the previous NT Wright books, this story is worth it.

I'm struck by how NT Wright is bringing multiple stories together into a coherent narrative here. What I'm trying to do with my own manuscript is not that different. And this book feels just slightly expanded from time to time. For one thing, Wright took most of his arguments with other scholars and put them in a whole 'nother book, which I'm very grateful for, because that's what exasperates me most about other writers like Hauerwas. I want you to talk to me, not those other writers over there. I'm selfish.

Wright returns to his beloved six-part diagrams here, too, but at the end of Part II they come together in a way that, I'll begrudgingly admit, is indeed illuminating.

So far this book looks to do for Romans and 1 Corinthians what the previous book (The Resurrection of the Son of God) did for the ends of the 4 Gospels. It does tell a story, and Wright does show how that story is both continuous and discontinuous with what went before. The story makes Paul make sense in a deep and lasting way. I love that.

This book is doing what it should, and since Wright had lofty goals in writing it, to make that statement is high praise. I'm looking forward to Parts III and IV, although I may need to rest my brain first. I'm not even halfway up the mountain yet.

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