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Friday, October 06, 2006

Jim West on NT Wright, Wrightism and Wrightianity

Jim West has made a few comments on NT Wright in the light of the new NT Wright blog. E.g.

He’s got email lists devoted to his books, essays, and papers; he’s an “evangelical pop star”; people pay big bucks to attend his “public lectures” (two years ago he was within driving distance so I checked into it- for a paltry $175 I could go hear him speak!)

The funny thing about Wright is, if you’ve read one book by him, you’ve read them all. No matter if it’s a 500 page book on Jesus or a 200 page book on Paul. It’s like going to a movie and thinking that, no matter how many times you’ve seen it, maybe the ending will be different this time.

Doubtless Wright is a highly gifted man. And doubtless he’s famous. But Wrightly so? Other, lesser known scholars have said things better, more clearly, and certainly more concisely. But because they lack the high profile publicity pushing Wright’s works forward they go, sadly, unheard. Besides, what exactly does the good Bishop do besides research and public speaking? He’s not exactly a Pastor- so he has no responsibilities in that direction. He doesn’t teach- so he’s not got that hanging over his head like the sword of Damocles. He reads, he regurgitates it into the open mouths of the waiting, joyously anticipating flock of hatchlings huddled together in his safe, warm, dry, nest of exegetical certainty, and he makes an awful lot of money doing it.

Mind you, I’m not envious of his fame or fortune. I’m, to put it simply, surprised by it! Whenever Fortress or Eerdman’s announces yet another offering from his prolific desk I ask myself one simple question: why????????


Money?!

There is a discussion group called Wrightsaid I believe (for those with knowldege of English pop music, or better camp English pop music there is a joke ready and waiting for that discussion group) but it is members/fans only. It would be very interesting to know what they talk about though.

And note this:

...I suspect the next, and quite natural, progression in the spread of Wrightism (or Wrightianity)...

So is Jim right in all this? (I am, of course, just a mere bystander, innocently reporting what I find and selecting by sheer chance what gets on this blog.)