Trevin Wax: One final question… How is your writing coming along? What is the next book in the Christian Origins and the Question of God series? When do you plan on seeing it hit shelves?
N.T. Wright: How the writing is coming along is at the moment… Two sorts of things happen. 1. That I can take a week or two here and there and write little books very fast. So they’re sort of buzzing in my head and then finally I get a week or two and I sit down and they just…
Trevin Wax: I think you can write faster than I can read!
N.T. Wright: Probably not quite. But I do write quite fast, thank God, and that’s one thing I’ve had to do. Acts for Everyone is coming out very soon, and that was wonderful to write. I really enjoyed that. And then, as I said, the sequel to Simply Christian, Surprised by Hope is coming out fairly soon, but that has been growing on the word processor over the last five years and I’ve done bits and pieces of it as lectures all over the place. And I finally sat down, and (that’s the great thing about word processors) pulled it all together and there it was.
Then, there’s a very little book which has just come out in England and the English title is called The Cross and the Colliery. It’s sermons that I preached in an old pit village which, where the mine had shut down, and the community is in shock and bereavement over that. And I was walking them through the story of the cross as a kind of exercise in corporate bereavement counseling. And I think the American title is simply The Cross and the Christian or something like that. I think they didn’t know what a colliery was.
But, the next book in the big series has not been started yet. It’s been started in my head and on notebooks, but I haven’t done any serious writing for it. That’s supposed to be on Paul. What I want to do is the big book of which that little book Paul: In Fresh Perspective was just a kind of little foretaste.
In other words, what I’m hoping and praying that I’ll be able to do is to do a run-through of Paul’s theology in a reasonably traditional way, but simultaneously show the political side of all that and show how that integrates. Then, I would love at the same time to do, showing how Paul is working with and subverting the philosophical climate of his time, the Stoics and Epicureans and so on. Nobody is basically pulling those three together.
But Paul lived in those three worlds. The Jewish world of the worship of the one true God and figuring out what that meant, the Roman world where he was a citizen, but a very subversive one and then the Hellenistic world, which he knew perfectly well (the Areopagus address, and so on). And I would love to be able to show, not only how those three strands play out, but how they work together. Different bits of the Pauline Studies Guild are doing those different bits. I don’t think anybody’s doing the integration. And that’s a very exciting task.
I may have a sabbatical in 2009. That hasn’t been negotiated yet. But what I need (and if anyone out there is listening and wants to come and apply), I need a research assistant who will actually help me line up the key things I need to work with, because otherwise I could spend all four months of the sabbatical, simply sitting in the library reading the stuff I haven’t yet caught up with, and then the sabbatical will be over just when I was ready to start writing. I can’t afford that time, otherwise, it will be another six years. So that’s where I am at the moment.
Trevin Wax: Thank you very much for being with us. We’re honored that you would graciously be part of this interview.
N.T. Wright: Not at all. Thank you very much and good wishes and God bless you to all who are listening.
See full transcript of this interview.
© 2007 Kingdom People blog