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Surprised by Hope Paperback – 23 Sep 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: SPCK Publishing; Re-issue edition (23 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0281064776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0281064779
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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,


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4.5 out of 5 stars
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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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Format: Paperback
Tom Wright sets out to describe his whole world-view in this one book, and he does a good job. If one should sum up the book in one term, "new creation" would probably be very appropriate.

One of the book's weaknesses happens to be one of its strengths as well. You often get the impression that Wright could've written much more on a particular subject, but then he chooses to go on to something else. In this sense, the book deals with a lot of issues, but from a somewhat general perspective. Let it be said that Wright is a man of "the big picture".

I particularly like how he provides a balanced view on the old fight between "saving souls" and "making this world a better place". Wright recognizes that these two ideas are closely connected according to the New Testament. I was very intrigued by the idea that God actually sets out to save the world, not just the people in it. Yet, people are part of what's being saved, and they're part of his way of saving everything and everyone else.

I would encourage all ministers to familiarise themselves with Tom Wright (sometimes called N.T. Wright) and his theological approach to the New Testament. He really is one of the most knowledgable theologians of the 21st century.
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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 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
In many ways this book acts as a popular level summary of Wright's recent thinking, and that is both its strength and ultimately also its weakness. The book's big idea is that Jesus' bodily resurrection is not a one off event but rather the forerunner of the general resurrection, and that this is the key which makes sense of a great deal of new testament thinking, in the gospels and the letters and in Revelation. He contends that the loss of belief in the bodily resurrection being replaced by an idea of a non-corporeal heaven has resulted not only in a loss of appropriate hope for christians but also has wider consequences for theology and for how christians live their lives. These are important ideas, clearly expressed and forcefully argued. The book's weaknesses stem from Wright's rather dismissive tone for anyone who does not agree, from their origin as lectures rather than being written as a book and from the constant refrain 'this is a topic that there is not space to explore here'. At 300 pages this is not a short book, but rather perhaps one that attempts to cover too much ground in the space available.
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