Top critical review
Dry But Decent Read
Reviewed in the United States on October 21, 2012
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 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.