Eschatology and Restoration: The Relationship Between Theology and Eschatology in the Writings of N. T. Wright -- By: Alan S. Bandy

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 22:2 (Spring 2005)
Article: Eschatology and Restoration: The Relationship Between Theology and Eschatology in the Writings of N. T. Wright
Author: Alan S. Bandy


Eschatology and Restoration:
The Relationship Between Theology and Eschatology
in the Writings of N. T. Wright

Alan S. Bandy

Ph.D. Student in Theological Studies (New Testament)
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587

Introduction1

Look this word [eschatology] up in the dictionary, and you will probably find something like ‘the doctrine of death, judgment, heaven and hell.’ When scholars use this word in relation to first-century Judaism and Christianity, though, they mean something rather different. They use it to denote the Jewish and Christian belief that Israel’s history, and thereby world history, was moving towards a great climatic moment in which everything would be sorted out once and for all.... ‘Eschatology’ thus refers to the belief that history was going to reach, or perhaps that it had just reached, its great climax, its great turning-point.2

Christian theology is eschatological. According to N. T. Wright’s theological system, eschatology is not simply a topic or subset of systematic theology. Instead it pervades, shapes, and forms all aspects of Christianity. He affirms,

Yes, Christian theology properly understood is indeed eschatological, that is, it is rooted (among other things) in the belief that the one true and living God is the creator of the world who intends to renew and redeem his creation at the last, bringing justice, joy and healing to the whole created order, and that this eventual goal has been decisively anticipated in the person, work and achievement of Jesus Christ. This does indeed color the way we see a great many of the ‘topics’ of theology.3

Therefore, the present author will seek to examine critically Wright’s proposals concerning his interpretation of Jesus and the theology of Paul. The goal is to validate whether or not Christian theology is eschatological. Part 1 will primarily provide a descriptive account of Wright’s contributions. The second will evaluate a few of the implications of Wright’s work on Christian theology.

Part 1: A Survey of Wright’s Proposals Concerning
the Eschatological Nature Of Jesus And Paul

1.1 Locating Jesus and Paul within Wright’s Second-Temple worldview

Central to Wright’s critical, realist methodology is interpreting the Scriptures and its theology through a reconstruction of the worldview maintained by most Second Temple Jews. As a critical realist, Wright argues for a theory of knowledge that ...

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