N. T. Wright and American “Imperialism”

The Wall Street Journal’s OpinionJournal.com has a great piece on N. T. Wright and his influence on American Evangelicalism. It is titled “Reform Party: A British Theologian Takes Another Stab at It.” John Wilson, the author of this piece, argues that N. T. Wright is “the most influential biblical scholar in American evangelical circles today.” According to Wilson, this fact is a great irony because Wright regularly denounces the “imperialism” of U.S. foreign policy—a criticism that most American evangelicals would not agree with.

I am reading N. T. Wright’s new book on Paul as I write, and I intend to post a review of it here when I am finished. For now, let me just say that Wright argues for a “fresh perspective” on the gospel that Paul preached. This “fresh perspective” (not to be confused with the “New Perspective”) includes a realization that one of the chief things that the apostle Paul is doing in his letters is denouncing imperialism. Whether Wright is correct to apply this insight to U. S. foreign policy, I will leave for another post. But if I may tip my hand a little bit, I think it’s clear that Wright seems to be indulging in a bit of parallelomania and is probably reading too much Greco-Roman background into Paul.

But, as I said, more on this later.

2 Responses to N. T. Wright and American “Imperialism”

  1. Allen Smith December 29, 2005 at 7:08 pm #

    Denny,

    Wright would not only consider his perspective “fresh” but he has repeatedly lumped himself in the “new perspective” camp, though he is quick to differ with E. P. Sanders and Dunn on several points. I love reading your blogs and plan to keep up with you through this site while I’m in Peru. Keep up the good comments!

    Blessings,

    Allen

  2. LLB December 31, 2005 at 10:15 am #

    I have heard several cockamamie quotes on simplistic debt relief from Wright when he wanders into geopolitics and economics; one was prefaced by “I don’t know a lot about finance but I know bankers who do.” Suggests he’s a captive mouthpiece on subjects he doesn’t really understand.

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