David Mathis has posted a scathing review of N. T. Wright’s most recent book on justification. Mathis identifies five critical areas of weakness in Wright’s Justification: God’s Plan & Paul’s Vision, and each one of them is worth the reader’s careful consideration. Not only has Wright failed to engage his most serious critics (e.g., John Piper), he also fails to produce any close exegesis of the relevant biblical texts. Mathis puts it this way:
‘Exegesis has two different flavors for Wright and Piper. Piper wrestles word by word, proposition by proposition, and then paragraph by paragraph. Wright moves much quicker through large chunks of Paul’s thought, refers frequently to whole chapters and paragraphs, and quotes phrases (often as technical terms) seemingly removed from their immediate context. It is surprising that Wright would remind us that “the text is the text” (p. 249) when he has dealt so little with the actual biblical text in its context. For this reason, Wright’s exegetical chapters are a serious disappointment as his exegesis proves to be a kind of hovering above the textâ€”rarely, if ever, landing, while supplying his own meaning for a phrase here and there that contributes to a coherent whole but neglects to explain the connections between Paul’s propositions and paragraphs. Does Wright not see that the discussion cannot go forward if he will not convincingly engage Paul on Paul’s own terms but instead keeps the text at arm’s length?’
Mathis’s review appeared in Themelios, and you can read the rest of it here.