Ted Grimsrud—November 1, 2021
N.T. Wright. Interpreting Scripture: Essays on the Bible and Hermeneutics. Zondervan Academic, 2020. xii + 387pp.
This interesting collection of essays by the prominent New Testament professor N. T. Wright gives a chronological record of his interaction with biblical texts dating from 1997 to 2020. Most of the twenty-two essays have been published in various obscure journals and essay collections. They are all vintage Wright, mixing careful reading of texts with theological analysis. The essays are scholarly but written with Wright’s characteristic clarity and accessibility.
The title of the book is a bit misleading, though. Particularly, the term “hermeneutics” in the subtitle promises a theme that the book does not actually touch on. It would be quite useful to have some essays by Wright reflecting on the philosophy of biblical interpretation. His thoughts in that area surely are worth attending to. However, these are mainly essays that show how he interprets the specific biblical texts and addresses specific biblical themes, not essays that step back and examine the act of interpretation itself.
This is one of three volumes published simultaneously by Zondervan Academic, the other two being collections of essays focused on Jesus and on Paul respectively. This third volume could be understood as essays on what was left over. Even so, a few essays on Paul and on Jesus find their way into Interpreting Scripture, suggesting that the selection criteria were not scrupulously followed.