This is an excerpt from an interview with N.T. Wright by Trevin Wax on his blog, hosted on The Gospel Coalition website. In the same interview, Wright is asked about Steve Chalke’s book, The Lost Message of Jesus. This is a wonderful introduction to Wright at a time when he was just finishing up some great work and was on the cusp of publishing one of his best known books to date, Surprised By Hope. Enjoy!
Trevin Wax: In your opinion, has scholarly criticism of the New Perspectives in America, such as Carson, Piper, Moo and others, have they been fair? Or have they misunderstood the New Perspective?
N.T. Wright: I think Carson has misunderstood it. The big book, the first volume that he edited, Justification and Variegated Nomism, a collection of fine essays by fine scholars. But I have to say, in the bit at the end, where Carson sums it up, he actually goes way beyond what those essays actually say. And it’s interesting… he takes a few swipes at me there without even footnoting. It’s as though I’m sort of hovering in the background as a big boogeyman who’s going to come and pounce on people and so, he’s got to ward him off.
And I know Don quite well. We were graduate students together, he in Cambridge and I at Oxford in the 1970′s. We’ve been friends on and off for many years. And I just don’t understand why this is eating him the way it is.
Piper is in a different category. He graciously sent me an advance manuscript of his book which is critiquing me and invited my comments on it. I sent him a lengthy set of comments. I’ve only just got on email about two days ago the book in the revised form and I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet. So I cannot say whether he’s being fair or not at this stage.
But I do know that he has done his darndest to be fair and I honor that and I respect that. People have asked me if I’m going to write a response, and the answer is that I don’t know. I’m kind of busy right now. But I maybe should, sooner or later.
Moo is in a different category again. Doug Moo, I would say, is a much greater Pauline scholar than either of the two I just mentioned. One of the things I really respect about Doug Moo is that he is constantly grappling with the text. Where he hears the text saying something which is not what his tradition would have said, he will go with the text. I won’t always agree with his exegesis, but there is a relentless scholarly honesty about him which I really tip my hat off to.