Some of Tom Wright’s books are rather like sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner, realizing that a lot of good eating is before you, and it’s going to take a long time to digest. Fortunately, even Tom’s big books don’t have the same effect as a large dose of turkey does— call it the tryptophan effect. But Tom’s shorter, more popular level books while easier to consume, should never be mistaken for empty calories or fast food, even when they are simply distillations of things he has said elsewhere at more length and in more detail. Tom’s newest offering is mostly what I have just described– a distillation of various things we have heard from him before in various previous offerings. Nevertheless, it is clearly communicated, doesn’t wander around like a lost dog looking for it’s master, and has some helpful insights and memorable and pithy lines in it. At 171 pages of text, Simply Good News: Why the Gospel is News and What Makes it Good is a book you can consume in an afternoon read.
A study by the London School of Economics and Paris School of Economics found that when graded by teachers, 11-year-old French girls are given higher marks in math than boys, despite being outperformed by boys in anonymised, standardised tests. The performance gap disappears by the next set of standardised tests taken at age 14.
As noted above, the trilogy of essays by Dunn, Westerholm, and Wright form a unit. The one by Dunn, “What’s Right about the Old Perspective on Paul,” is summed up under three heads: (1) Luther rediscovered the saving righteousness of God; (2) he reasserted the fundamental role of faith in human relations with God; (3) he reminded us that human beings cannot earn or achieve a relationship with God by their own efforts. Luther was thus “bang on target” (p. 215) regarding a number of points. For one, righteousness is a, if not the, key to understanding Paul’s gospel. The point was reinforced by the later realization that to understand Paul’s teaching it is necessary to go behind the classical model of “righteousness” to the Hebrew concept that Paul would have taken for granted, namely, that righteousness is a relational concept, “the meeting of obligations laid on the individual by the relationship of which he or she is part” (p. 216).