Last year I tackled the 740 page The Resurrection of the Son of God – by far the largest and most “serious” book I’ve tried to read in my attempt to remedy my thin grasp on church history, philosophy and theology. I didn’t have the background to understand half of what he was talking about, but it was well worth it anyway.
I realized though that the earlier volumes in the series (that was book number 3), might be of greater interest. I’m beginning with the first volume, which is more about the New Testament itself, the surrounding history of Israel, and what we know about the early church. The second book in the series is about Jesus. He has yet to complete volumes four and five. One of them is about Paul. Not sure about the other one. At the rate I go, I’ll be lucky to finish it in 2 months.
As someone who is a rather slow writer, I’ve always been amazed at how incredible the output of some folks can be. My friend Brendan one commented that Peter Leithart can write faster than he (Brendan) can read. If that’s true, than for N.T. Wright it’s even more so. And he’s not just blabbing either. This is RICH stuff.
I came across this in the “thank you” section of his introduction:
In the main draft of volumes 1 and 2 and the first half of volume 3, was written while on sabbatical in Jerusalem during the summer of 1989.
-N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, p.xix
You’re kidding. I know it’s only the first draft, before it’s cleaned up, but that’s still 1000-1500 PAGES (in a pretty small font I might add) written in, what, 4 months? Absolutely astounding. And the work itself is a masterpiece, not just chatter.
This is up there with Michael Phelps winning 8 gold medals, and breaking 7 world records in one week (only without smoking bongs are a party afterward). This is like that prodigy musician who could play the 100+ existing Miles Davis transcriptions from memory when he was 14.
I’m trying not to be a N.T. Wright fanboy, but it’s hard sometimes. I mean, if you want to be a critic, it’s not that hard to find some areas he’s surprisingly weak in. But come on! How many brilliant scholars are there like this? Quite a few I imagine actually. But in addition to thinking well, how many can work this hard and fast? It’s impressive. That’s all.