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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 29 July 2016
I once told Tom Wright that I had read all his books. Having fallen behind again (he writes a lot!) I picked up Simply Jesus, and discovered again the restless mind and earnest heart of the greatest scholar of the New Testament of his generation. This book puts forth very economically what Bishop Wright has laid out in incredible detail in his academic books. Furthermore, since he is a fine teacher (he left his bishopric early to return to teaching and writing), Simply Jesus is organized as a pedagogy, bringing the reader along through metaphors that unfold as the book's argument advances.

Wright cites the story of the Gloucester fishermen who lost their lives in a "perfect storm", caught in the confluence of three powerful weather systems. He starts by describing the present situation of understanding Jesus as a perfect storm of an aggressive and dismissive secularism, a powerful, blinkered version of Christian faith, and the hurricane of God's own strange work. This triad device reappears as Wright lays out the case for considering Jesus in his own context, which is far stranger than moderns imagine. From this analysis Wright daringly proposes to describe Jesus' self-understanding, using both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, as well as Jewish and Roman history.

He himself admits that he gets into trouble with certain Christians, as well as secularists. Wright's approach is historical and textual, at ease with a huge variety of sources. He handles this material lightly, humbly; he is having a conversation with the reader, not giving a lecture. There is nothing triumphalist here. He is harder on Christians much more than others, in fact.

I learned a lot, and I think that any person of good will shall benefit. For whether you believe or not, there is no denying that Jesus of Nazareth and his followers have had a crucial impact on history down to our own times. Simply Jesus is therefore a fine place to start studying him. For this believer, I was convicted again of what a follower of Christ must be and do. For other readers, there is no proselytizing here. The information and its presentation are of value to anyone trying to understand the signs of our own times.
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on 11 January 2012
I found the book well constructed, full of excellent insights and extremely useful for framing my thoughts on the subject of Jesus. Christology is a really tough subject often poorly taught. This book is an accessible well written introduction to the important concepts with which one must grapple in order to gain an understanding of the most important figure in history.
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on 3 May 2017
I've come late to the writings of Tom Wright - and wish I had encountered them years ago! A one-time Archbishop of Canterbury says 'Wright is... a brilliant at distilling immense scholarship into a vivid, clear and accessible form. This book is yet another of his great gifts to the world-wide Church.' Titled 'Simply JESUS' the author sets out to answer the questions, Who he was, What he did, and, Why it matters. The scope of the book is far from 'simple' but by using the theme of 'The Perfect Storm' Wright attempts to trace the purposes of God to redeem his people and establish his Kingdom, through all ages - the history of ancient Israel, the predictions of the prophets, and the mission of Jesus in his earthly ministry. It is no simple read but it provides a convincing explanation of the nature of God's Kingdom and Christ's crucial part establishing that Kingdom. Far from failing in his mission, Jesus secured the Kingdom through his life, death on the Cross, and rising again. The theme of this book will be disconcerting to those Christians who look for Jesus' return in terms of a regathering of Israel, the rebuilding of the Temple, and a thousand-year reign of the triumphant Christ. The Kingdom of God is not earthly or geographic, it is spiritual; it is not a nation - Israel, but all who respond in faith to the Gospel of Christ; the Temple is not for rebuilding - God meets his people in Christ, and indwells them by his Spirit. Feathers will be ruffled!
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on 26 December 2012
Based on a deep and scholarly understanding of the biblical and other contemporary texts, this book is written in a "user friendly" style for the non-academic and explains who Jesus thought he was and who his contemporaries thought he was. It is essential reading for anyone who would like to base their Christian faith on a clear understanding of these two points
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on 18 April 2012
I was drawn in by the title and the author and this book certainly delivered on all counts. If you're caught wondering what Jesus means in today's context, then answering the questions of why God came into this world, what he did and why he did it, will get you ready for the final part of the book which might just help reveal the relevance of God's kingdom to your life today. Just try putting it down after you've read the first few pages.
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on 31 January 2012
I found this book challenging to many of my pre-conceived ideas (and dare I say 20th century worldview) about the life of Jesus. His words and actions so often seen in isolation suddenly came together in a continuous story. I found the opening "Perfect Storm" analogy set the scene as the military might of Rome and the religious fervour of Judaism was met full on by the love of God.

A compelling read I would recommend it to Christian and non-Christian alike.
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on 20 August 2013
An excellent book to get you thinking and living in the light of the "truth" that Jesus really is The King of Kings and has defeated the powers of darkness. A call to the world and church to understand the Kingdom of Heaven as coming here on Earth ... Through you, .... Today.

Tom does try to distance himself from the idea of going to Heaven when you die, not really possible to do if you read Jesus!
However he does this to get away from the idea that we should just sit back and await a better place instead of getting on with fixing this one!

Good stuff!
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on 20 April 2016
Although it took me a while to read this book, as I read half of it then read some other books and came back to it again. I struggled with a few things in first part of the book but was greatly surprised by the rest of it. I highly recommend it and it needs to be read by every Christian. Jesus is Lord and King! Praise Him!
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on 4 March 2013
Tom Wright is an expert in historical Christianity. As a result he is able to lay out the historical context for Jesus entry into the world which gives a very different perspective to traditional christian thinking. Rather than taking away what the Christian believes, he methodically adds to the historical Jesus using the example of "The perfect Storm". He revisits this throughout the book showing what the Jews wanted, what the political powers of the time were doing and finally what God wanted... the result being "The perfect Storm".

The end view turned out to be very different than anyone thought at the time. Jesus came into a very political and world view context which is often ignored by the church. The Christian mission is therefore much greater than our own "personal" faith. Jesus death and resurrection was not just so we could all go to heaven when we die, but instead, the Kingdom has begun and we are to do our "heavenly work" now. Wright demonstrates this throughout.

Wright also comes back to the "Exodus" theme. Tyrant, Leader, Victory, Sacrifice, Vocation, Inheritance and Presence are huge themes throughout scripture and Jesus played into this context. Whereas with Egypt and the tyrant Pharoah, ultimately ending with God dwelling in the temple in Jerusalem, Jesus beats the tyrant sin and death with God's presence dwelling in us through his Spirit. Heaven and earth meet... in us. I wish people "got" this.

I found it an easy book to read. I must admit, my much more "traditional" mother-in-law found it harder going than me. I think it's much more to do with what we have already studied as I have read much of Wright's work anyway so it maybe because he never had to convince me.

I just wish everyone in the church would understand it. We may actually end up changing the world after all!
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on 24 April 2017
Read it for university. It is very good but VERY religiously biased. Good for understanding the one side of the Jesus debate, though.
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