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Surprised by Hope: Original, provocative and practical by [Wright, Tom]
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Surprised by Hope: Original, provocative and practical Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Length: 354 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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About the Author

Tom Wright is Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrews. He is the author of over fifty books,

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1107 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Publisher: SPCK (11 Sept. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009DG0G10
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #89,939 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Tom explains clearly and readably the so-called "New Perspective" on the Christian faith. He reminds readers that the core of the faith is not to be found in misleading hymns and liturgies but in the bible. Tom claims that over recent years Christians have retreated from the challenges of 'God's Kingdom on earth'. Instead they have increasingly concentrated on the comforting but unbiblical idea of 'going to Paradise in heaven when we die and living there forever'. In this challenging and ultimately inpiring book Tom explores in a knowledgeable way the Old Testament foundations of Christianity and the messiahship of Jesus, giving a continuity to the idea of covenant, especially the covenant given to Abraham of blessing the world through his offspring. The closing chapters are a huge and encouraging challenge to Christians to put the idea of 'Kingdom of God on earth' to the test and show this world the Lordship of Christ over the whole world.
Some may find parts of this book disturbing of long-held beliefs, but should not be put off reading to his conclusions.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a layman I found this to be a source of coherent theology, deep insight and Christ centred inspiration. I have already read his commentary on Revelation and will be looking out for more books by him. It is encouraging tas one who wants to see a Christian revival that we have an Anglican bishop of the Church of England playing such an inspirational role.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very clear explanation of the reasons for Christian hope
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was bought for me by my spiritual director after the death of my mother. I thought it particularly well written, excellent in contenmt and in challenge. It has done me a great deal of good, and I'm grateful to the author for the strength it has put into me.

I've quoted (and credited) it often.

One particularly helpful insight was regarding the restoration of Peter after Christ's resurrection, and the depth of recognition revealed in the question 'do you love me'.

I'm sure if Tom had written as NT I wouldn't have grasped it properly and guess that in simplifying the material he's opened himself to some criticism from academics.
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Format: Paperback
Great book - I love Tom Wright's academic writing style, historically and biblically accurate. Its a pleasure to read something that is so much more than the "fluff" that we are often dished up with regard to christian paperbacks. The topic is something that is dear to my heart in the present post modern culture and the book has given me a surprising amount of hope for the future.
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Format: Paperback
Tom Wright has written a remarkable book which re-states the Christian message for the modern world. He has done this, not by deserting the main tenets of Christian belief, but by re-examination of the central principle of hope in Christian thought. His purpose is to bring the beliefs of the early Church to life again and show how those misrepresented beliefs can be applied to re-energise the surprise of the Christian hope, especially with the dying and the dispossessed. In sum his argument is that Christian hope is not a matter of going away from the world into heaven but of applying God's creation in today's world.

Wright argues that many Christians are confused about their own beliefs. He suggests that "a good deal of our current view of death and the life beyond has come from....impulses in the culture which have created at best semi-Christian informal traditions". These require "proper examination in the clear light of scripture". He points out that "the idea that every human possesses an immortal soul, which is the 'real' part of them, finds little support in the Bible." When used in the Bible the word 'soul' conveys the idea of the whole person, the personality, rather than "a disembodied entity hidden within the outer shell of the disposable body." In addition, Wright places the concept of life after death in the context of first century Judaism and beliefs existing in both Greece and Rome.

Anyone looking for the resurrection as myth will be disappointed. Wright has no doubt that the resurrection is historical fact which makes "the strange story of Easter" compelling.
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It would not be unfair to describe this as a `lite' version of the The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins & the Question of God) (RSG), which Wright published a few years earlier. There was also some additional material included, where he built upon the conclusions reached at the end of RSG. The book is certainly aimed at a wider audience than RSG as Wright tries as hard as possible to say away from technical terminology. As usual, though, his writing style is brilliant, clear and easy to follow. He picks his analogies carefully, and always maintains a pace to keep the reader interested.

His basic thesis is as follows: many christians have muddled beliefs about death, resurrection and the afterlife. This then leads on to a confused idea of how the ideas of life after death relate to ideas of life before death. The book outlines some of the current ideas about these topics and Wright contrasts these with the beliefs of the early church, or what we might consider to be "authentic" christian belief. He demonstrates how some ideas that are commonly assumed to be christian are in fact adopted or adapted from alternative sources.

Having set out his stall with the historic evidence for the resurrection, what the ascension meant and what the earliest christian hope was for "life after life after death" he then moves on to the idea of salvation. The two key questions posed, which I think we all ought to answer, are:

1) What are we saved from?
2) What are we saved for?

Wright's particular answer is framed in terms of creation and new creation.
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