N T Wright Gregory Lecture – Can a Scientist Trust the New Testament?

As part of a series of James Gregory Public Lectures, the Rt Revd professor N. T. Wright delivered a lecture – ‘Can a Scientist Trust the New Testament?’ in the main Physics Theatre at the University of St Andrews, on the 17th February 2014.

Tom Wright is one of today’s best known and respected New Testament scholars.

Gregory Lecture – Can a Scientist Trust the New Testament? from University of St Andrews on Vimeo.

What Gods Do We Believe in Now? NT Wright and Gary Morson at Northwestern

Published on Dec 21, 2012

http://www.veritas.org/talks – NT Wright, Professor of New Testament at the University of St. Andrews and Gary Morson, Professor of Slavic Languages at Northwestern discuss the question: What Gods Do We Believe in Now? Challenging the Religions of Culture. Conversation moderated by Amy Flowerree.

N.T.Wright’s introductory points:

  1. Epicureanism, ancient and modern has reacted against a perception of an angry and threatening God, and
  2. It results in detaching divinity from the world of space, time and matter, allowing the world, the natural world, the political order to develop and evolve under their own steam.
  3. This confluence of ideas has given birth to what we loosely call secularism. Secularism is a complex phenomenon in itself, but, it’s become a dominant motif in western culture, and in America, and in American universities in particular.  Despite of, and perhaps because of the continuing, often striding religiosity of some parts of your (American) culture- by the way, totally different from mine- there is no equivalent in the UK to the modern American fundamentalism, only in tiny pockets here and there. But, despite or perhaps because of that, there has been increasing pressure in America to banish talk of a God from public life and to conduct everything, from scientific research, to politics, even to marriage, on the assumption that the world is what it means and isn’t what it means without reference to anything beyond its visible and in principle scientifically measurable self.

I put tonight’s question within this triple context. Because, it seems to me vital, that if we are to understand where we come from  and not accept the sacred secular divide, or the religious nonreligious divide as simply part of some unalterable or some given cultural landscape. It is no such thing. Ironically, it is itself, partly comprehensible as one more cultural evolution in the complex history of the western world. But, it has solidified itself, remarkably, politically, as well as scientifically through the remarkable claim made by your forefathers late in the 18th century, who really did believe – it says so on your dollar bills – that they were seeing the birth of a new order of the ages. That’s a quote from the Roman poet, Virgil, at the time of Augustus, 2000 years earlier. This was to be the new golden age. And that claim, hiding powerfully, just under the surface of so many cultural assumptions, particularly, but not exclusively  here in America. It means that any attempt to challenge the perceived rule of secularism is seen as ipso facto a challenge to the great modern order. This has brought us so many obvious blessings, not least in the medical sphere. I am sometimes accused of being anti enlightenment. My stock answer is that actually, that I do have several problems with post enlightenment modernism, I have no wish to be operated on by either a premodern or indeed a postmodern dentist, thank you very much.

All this leads me to the second and central section of this lecture , in which I want to suggest that the assumed standoff between what we call religion, and what we call the secular world, and the cultures which have grown up around this standoff are radically misconceived. And that there are other ways of looking at the whole thing, which would be more accurate in description, more helpful in enabling us to find our way forward, and indeed more christian in the conformity to that interesting and often forgotten message about Jesus Himself. (12:50)
What happened to the gods?

Father’s Day with N T Wright – More of Jesus

What would you tell your kids on your dying bed?

Question : N.T. Wright, forward your life 40 years and your’e 100 years old and your grandkids are at your bed and what do you want them to know about Jesus?

Wright: It’s funny, having only recently lost my own father, I haven’t actually thought much about what it would be like when my children lose me, bless them. I think I want to tell them, „Just read the Gospels more”.

Many Christians in our day treat the Gospels, as a friend of mine said, as the optional chips and dips of the beginning of the meal, which people just take it or leave it, it’s nice stuff to crunch there and then you go to sit at the table and you have the red meat of Pauline theology and that’s where we’re all headed. And I want to say, „Hey, I love Paul. Paul is fantastic. He’s been the stuff of my life. But, the dynamism of the Gospels and the person who walks out of those pages to meet us is just central and irreplaceable and He’s always a surprise. We never have Jesus in our pockets. He’s always coming at us from a new angle.

I would like to say to them, try reading the Gospels in different ways. Read them as a run, but then try taking them into the stories and do what some traditions have done. Ponder that story and imagine yourself a character in that story, and wait and watch in the story while Jesus heals this man or talks to this old lady, or whatever. Then wait and watch and pray and watch until Jesus turns around and says to you , now, actually, „Can we have a chat with you about this? Where are you with this?”  That is a way that many Christians have meditated on the Scriptures and with the Gospels, particularly. It’s a wonderful way and I would recommend that to anyone.

I think, the story of Jesus on the road to Emmaus is perhaps the one which does this most, for most people because there, you have a sense which so many people are walking around without any idea of what’s happened, feeling sorrowful, feeling sad, puzzled. Jesus, Himself will come near and will be with them and open the Scriptures with them and then they recognize Him in the breaking of the bread.

So, I hope my children would know that I would say this anyway, but to say: Jesus is absolutely in the middle and if you want to know who God is; look at Jesus. If you want to know what it means to be human, look at Jesus. If you want to know what love is, look at Jesus. If you want to know what grief is, look at Jesus. And, go on looking until you’re not just a spectator, but you are actually part of the drama which has Him as the central character.

‪Darrell Bock on N.T. Wright’s New Perspective & Eschatological Language‬‏

Darrell Bock is Research Professor of New Testament Studies and Professor of Spiritual Development and Culture; click on the picture for Dr. Bock’s faculty page on the Dallas Theological Seminary’s website.

There is a lot of commentary on N.T.Wright’s ‘New Perspective’, a topic I am reading about from different, competent sources, who are faithful to the Word of God. This is Darrell Bock’s lecture on the subject.

In the 2 part video Darrell Bock discusses N.T.Wright’s „new perspective” of seeing Jesus and Paul through the lens of 1st century  Judaism (through A.D.70) rather than through Christian critique of the New Testament or through the lens of the Reformation.

The lecture is given at Liberty University.    Uploaded by on Youtube.

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There is a short question and answer session in the middle of  this video, followed by a discussion of Eschatological Language.

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N.T.Wright – The whole sweep of Scripture

N.T. Wright  suggestions on  how to read the Bible:

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