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Tom Wright and The Search For Truth


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Tom Holland trained as an engineer but, following a strong sense of God's call to Christian service, he left this field of specialisation to study theology. After graduating from London University, he accepted an invitation to establish a church 25 miles south of Cambridge. The church grew rapidly and he served as its pastor. During this time, he became aware that there was far more of the Old Testament in the New Testament than was recognised. Believing that this insight was the key to a better understanding of the New Testament, he gave himself to researching this topic. The following 18 years caused his understanding to make huge adjustments as he came to value the vital link between the content of the two testaments. He retired from the church after 19 years of service in Letchworth and planted a second church in a nearby town, which has grown to be a thriving congregation. While serving this church he was invited to become New Testament lecturer at what is now Union School of Theology. He lectured at the school for 25 years, and during this time he gained his PhD from the University of Wales. Dr Holland became the Director of Biblical Research at the School, supervising over 20 students as they worked for their own doctoral degrees and teaching at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. During this time he continued to share the leadership of the church he'd planted, engaging in his own biblical research while writing books that have received warm endorsements from world leaders of New Testament research. In his retirement, Tom continues his writing and wider teaching as the Senior Research Fellow of Union School of Theology. He is married to Barbara and has 3 daughters and six grandchildren.


Tom Holland provides a long overdue and thorough critique of the biblical scholarship of Tom Wright. Holland poses many excellent questions that point to fundamental, unrecognized, and potentially very damaging flaws in many of Wright's methods and arguments. In an uncomfortable number of instances, Holland argues, Wright is just plain old wrong! Holland particularly identifies how the Second Temple Literature, as well as Hellenism as a whole, provides an unnecessary and unjustified foundation for Wright's interpretations, especially of Paul. Holland does more than simply show how and where he believes Wright is in error; he presents numerous constructive and viable alternatives that merit further consideration.
- Stanley E. Porter
, President and Dean, Professor of New Testament, Roy A. Hope Chair in Christian Worldview, McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, Ontario, CanadaI have long felt that someone ought to write a comprehensive, probing critique of N. T. Wright's theological thought. I'm very grateful to Tom Holland for tackling this challenging, yet much-needed task. Holland rightly, I believe, raises serious concerns regarding Wright's methodology, which tends to elevate Second Temple literature above the Hebrew Scriptures. While Wright is correct in his efforts to peel back layers of Reformation tradition in reading Paul, Holland shows that Wright's own methodology does not always live up to the noble aims of the critical realism he espouses. No doubt there is much to learn from Wright's scholarly contribution. The way forward, however, I believe, is subjecting Wright's work to the kind of constructive critique Holland has provided. It is my hope that this volume marks the beginning of an even more thoroughgoing scrutiny of Wright's reconstructed synthesis-with the result that Paul's thought can be discerned more cogently from the New Testament documents against the most important ancient background, which surely must be the inspired canonical contributions of the Old Testament writers. Even the most ardent followers of Wright, not to mention Wright himself, will want to take note of this measured, yet pointed and sustained interaction.
- Andreas J. Kostenberger
, Senior Research Professor of New Testament & Biblical Theology, Southeastern Baptist Theological SeminaryDr Holland presents a careful, eirenic, and thorough examination of the influences and assumptions that have shaped Tom Wright's approach to the theology of Paul. He treats his arguments to critical but fair scrutiny. It is important that widely popular claims are made accountable in an informed manner. In achieving this Dr Holland provides us with a resource that will prove invaluable for reaching a coherent evaluation.
- Dr Robert Letham
, Director of Research, Senior Lecturer, Union School of Theology

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