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Virtue Reborn [Paperback]

Tom Wright
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

19 Feb 2010
What am I here for? How should I behave? Most Christians, faced with those questions, think in terms either of 'rules' or of 'living authentically' Both lead to problems. In this book, full of fresh biblical exploration, Bishop Tom Wright proposes instead that we inhabit the ancient tradition of virtue once again - but from a thoroughly Christian, not just a philosophical, perspective. The virtues are the strengths we need to get to our goal. Following on from his popular best-selling books Simply Christian and Surprised by Hope, he sees the goal in terms of the whole new creation, with humans renewed to look after it.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: SPCK Publishing (19 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0281061440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0281061440
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Here is deep Christian wisdom for a bewildered age.' --John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford

About the Author

Tom Wright was Bishop of Durham from 2003-10 and is now Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrews. A regular broadcaster on radio and television, he has written over 40 books, including the For Everyone guides to the New Testament and the bestselling Simply Christian, Surprised by Hope, Virtue Reborn and Simply Jesus.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
73 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars transformative 23 Mar 2010
In what presents itself as a sequel to his previous HarperOne Publications (Simply Christian and Surprised by Hope), Tom Wright's newest release challenges theoretical Christianity with the ongoing work of the kingdom, most notably through the oft-debated areas of character and virtue. His own words work best to summarize the book: "Christian life in the present, with its responsibilities and particular callings, is to be understood and shaped in relation to the final goal for which we have been made and redeemed" (ix). That is to say, our lives must reflect the faith to which we cling.

But, of course, many Christians are able to live out the goal of their faith; it is a challenge to make certain that our faith is properly aligned and set to the right goal. And that is why this book makes an appropriate trilogy with the previous two, that understanding how Christian faith is about the restoration and rejoining of heaven and earth, and how our lives are meant to reflect that in this present inaugurated eschatology.

This book then is about the transformation and dedication of human character as the right response to resurrection. It is about the restored humanity which is now possible, though not without its stumbling and searching, as part of the dawning of God's new day. The opening chapter gives a few examples of admirable behavior, where those who were able to instinctively react heroically in certain situations did so because they had lived in certain ways for years before. In like manner, Wright asserts that Christian character is learned and built (and trained) on a daily basis. What am I here for?
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great read 30 April 2010
This is a superb read and an excellent follow-up to "Simply Christian" and "Surprised by Hope". The Christian faith is so well expressed.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very important for today's world 10 May 2010
I always value Tom Wright's scholarship and this book brings home the importance of virtue in today's world.
A must for all christians and parents and teachers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to be good 20 Oct 2013
How to be good?
How to live a good life?

Tom Wright's book interrogates both the New Testament and the classical Greek understanding of virtue to come up with what he presents as the Christian vision of virtue. Roughly it's this (I think). Being good means 'developing character traits whose radical novelty is generated from within the life, vision, achievement, death, and resurrection of Jesus himself.' (p222) We develop these traits not by our own efforts only, but renewed and guided by the Holy Spirit as we freely choose to build new habits.

This gives us all this:
- We become truly human and fruitful
- The classical virtues are taken through a kind of death and resurrection, and reborn. So there's both a discontinuiy and a continuity with them.
- Goodness is not attained through rule-keeping, or through just following your (new) instinct, but by repeated decisions to build new habits

Wright suggests that the way we nourish this practice of building good habits which slowly coalesce into virtue, into 'second nature', is through scripture, stories (which can teach us wisdom), examples, community, and action or practices. In other words, stuff we do corporately and individually as Christians.

This is a good book, the sort that stirs all kinds of prayerful and devotional impulses as you read it.

If you were being critical, you might say that, in his keenness to dialogue with the classical tradition, and with other ethicists, he makes his subject a little more complex than it actually is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This MUST be read! 17 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A timeous reminder of the essence of true humanity and character desperately needed in this world today.
It is a challenging read..... and could be life changing.
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