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The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus's Crucifixion

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  1,424 ratings  ·  236 reviews
The renowned scholar, Anglican bishop, and bestselling author widely considered to be the heir to C. S. Lewis contemplates the central event at the heart of the Christian faith—Jesus’ crucifixion—arguing that the Protestant Reformation did not go far enough in transforming our understanding of its meaning.

In The Day the Revolution Began, N. T. Wright once again challenges
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published October 11th 2016 by HarperOne
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Neil R. Coulter
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: thoughtful, patient, curious Christians and non-Christians
Shelves: worship, non-fiction
I intended to read The Day the Revolution Began for Lent this year, to help me stay focused on Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection, and to learn more, reflecting on hard questions. And I did read it during Lent . . . but, I’m embarrassed to say, I didn’t finish it, and I eventually took a pause and set it aside for a while (which turned into months). The reason I didn’t finish it on the first go is that even though I find N. T. Wright’s ideas and teaching to be brilliant, I also found the writi ...more
Sep 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wright has a unique talent for making complex theological perspectives easily accessible for people who don’t have a Ph.D. in Theology. One of the things I appreciated about this book, from an aesthetic standpoint, is that it was well-paced and engaging. Wright works through the theme of revolution from start to finish, and it gives the book a very compelling, driven feel. I read this in the middle of a six week intensive class, and even though I was busy with assigned reading, I had a hard time ...more
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I needed this book so much. It told me that many things which didn't make sense about the way I'd understood Christianity didn't make sense because they weren't Biblical. Phew! And it showed me what *does* make sense as we read the Scriptures as a whole. It didn't just knock down the crumbling walls and leave me with nothing. It showed me what's really there and how much better it is. It's really difficult to summarize what Christ did in a neat little package because he did not give us a neat li ...more
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
NT Wright has done more than any other writer to shape how I understand the New Testament and the mission of Jesus. Prior to reading Wright I had a very basic understanding that Jesus had lived and died and if we believed in him then we'd die and be with God in heaven. My mind was blown by his work Jesus and the Victory of God and since then I've read every book of his I could find. One primary lesson from Wright is the importance of understanding Jesus in his own context - when he spoke of a ki ...more
Jon Beadle
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book deserves 6 stars. It is by far his best popular level book, with only one other that might wrestle away the greatness, his also thick "Surprised by Hope." The only difference between the two is that this one is more readable, a little bit longer and is so addictive that it took me merely 5 days what took me two weeks with SBH.

His take on "propitiation" and the exegesis he does on Paul's letters are worth the entire book, as well as the considerable attention to Israel's scriptures - a
B.J. Richardson
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Revolution began on the cross, a Friday some two thousand years back. It was on that day that "the Kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdoms of our God." (Revelation 11:5, also Handel's Messiah)

This is the major premise for Wright's work. What How God Became King did for the gospels and the life of Christ, Revolution does for atonement theology and the death of Christ. As usual, Wright does an excellent job with this connecting the whole of scripture into one narrative to show what th
John Martindale
I listened to the audiobook and despite re-listening to sections, parts just refused to adhere to my brain and I failed to get the precise significance of some his interpretations of key passages. With Wright it is like one has to weigh through a multitude of puzzle pieces, and only gradually does one begin to get a glimpse of Wright's vast puzzle box. I've read and listened to a number of his works and much in this book was similar, but that which was new left me feeling a bit like I felt when ...more
Sep 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When N. T. Wright is writing about 1st century history and biblical context, he's world class. When he writes about current events and social sciences, he's merely an educated observer. Yet he writes about both as if he has the same authority in each field. That was both the delight and dismay of reading this book. Also, he repeats himself ad nauseam, with a very cyclical argument pattern. This book is 200 pages too long. I've often felt this about Wright but feel confirmed in this opinion now, ...more
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
I read this book as part of a group (we had all seen N.T. Wright lecture on this topic at a local college), and I'm not sure I would have made it through this book on my own. It's a little denser than what I usually read, it's outside my field of knowledge, and it gets technical in some places that, for me, made the argument difficult to parse. But this is a very good book, one worth pushing through.

What was difficult for me in reading this is that Wright has several strands of his argument that
Tim Casteel
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a challenging book. This is the first NT Wright book I’ve ever read and boy did I enjoy him. I now want to read every book he’s written. I found him incredibly thorough and methodical (Piper-esque) in building a clear, compelling case from Scripture. Such an original and clear-minded thinker, I have no problem taking his over-the-top dichotomies with a grain of salt (e.g.- you must either believe in penal substitutionary atonement OR Jesus Victor).

Wright helped me understand some key Biblic
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology, history, npp
Simply N.T. Wright.
Michael Horton offers a good review here:
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first N.T. Wright book. I appreciated all his major points. And I will be reading more of his works. My criticism is minor: his writing could certainly be improved with less repetition, and a taming of the rhetoric of “I’m just about the only one in Christianity saying this.” But, that aside, I’m glad I finally began reading his contributions.
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The Day The Revolution Began” presents some very big ideas concerning the death of Jesus, which naturally have incredibly deep and wide-spread implications for theology. And as others have mentioned, whilst it may not be Wright’s clearest and best articulated work, it is likely among his most important. An example of this seeming lack of clarity can be found in his assessment of the sacrificial language within some atonement theories as being pagan in nature. The issue being that when he does m ...more
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love Wright, but sometimes I want him to just come out and state his argument simply and concisely. I enjoyed this book, and, in general, I think I understand his take on the crucifixion and what it accomplished; however, there are still some areas where I am fuzzy on how all this works. That could be my inabilities as a reader, I will definitely try to outline his argument when I get more time and see if that helps. This book is well worth reading and contemplating.

I really liked David's revi
Alexander Proudfoot
Honestly, I'm only about 50% of the way through the book but I think I can already make a value judgement.

This book says nothing, nothing.

Not like it doesn't say anything good (it doesn't), it actually says nothing.

I can't penetrate this book, just like I couldn't with the author's biography of Paul for the same reason, his writing style is awful.

He repeats the same things under different chapter headings, says and uses the same terms, and to make it worse, doesn't define them in a clear way, or
Akash Ahuja
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It may only be mid-July, but this book is an early contender for the best book I'll read all year. N.T. Wright has important words to say how we consider what Jesus' death means for us, how the early church interpreted it, and how that changes how we are to live our lives today. He writes clearly and beautifully, and deconstructs the Platonized ideologies that the church has blindly embraced. I have nothing more to say than- read this book.
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredible, refreshing, revolutionary take indeed on the crucifixion. I was so delighted to discover a truly novel understanding of the gospel that got me excited! What an amazing story we have! And yet, as much as I appreciated Wright's insight, I found this book a little tortuous to work though; it's long and wordy and follows many side trails. So content, five stars. I just wish it could be written in a more easily-readable format.
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great book from Wright. Many of his thoughts are repetitive from past books but plenty of new material for the Wright follower.
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of NT Wright’s best books. And that’s saying something.

Here’s a couple of reviews that already said what I would like to say:
Lynn Joshua
So much good here, but sadly lacking in conciseness.

He takes almost half the book to tell us what he is NOT saying. Not this, not that, maybe partly this, but not really, ugh. He is not saying that Penal Substitution is wrong, he is saying that the focus on Penal Substitution as the only way to look at the atonement distorts our understanding of what Jesus did on the Cross, and this view needs to be framed with the Christus Victor view. I agree. However, I began to feel Lewis was onto something
Matthew J. Slisher
This is yet another masterpiece of N.T. Wright -- a highly recommended read! As always, reading Wright is more like watching an artist paint a beautiful picture, than it is grinding through an intellectual read. The varying hues and perspectives that Wright presents on the meaning of the crucifixion, as always (in classic Wright style) keeping the WHOLE of the Scriptures in view, causes worship to ignite afresh in my heart for what God in Jesus did for humanity and all of creation on the cross. ...more
Wes F
May 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as part of my Lenten 2020 readings--though it took a lot longer than 40 days for me to work through it, since I was reading it slowly. I liked the book overall, and liked the focus on what Christ's death on the cross meant for history--yes, it was revolutionary & was at the crux of God's redemption plan for the human race. But, a couple criticisms: 1) I thought it was too long & could have been probably halved & still made the same points well, and 2) I thought Wright spent too ...more
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished it after sitting with, perusing, reading, and stewing over it for about a year.
Picked it up originally to read while preaching through the book of Exodus. Stayed with it even after we left the wilderness.

Wright is strong in the ways he usually is, weaving texts and threads and themes of scripture into the great fabric of God's story of Creation and New Creation. There are sweeping and moving passages as only N.T. Wright can author. The integration of human vocation, holiness,
Patrick Willis
This was a superb read! In typical Wright fashion, the material is engaging and thought provoking all throughout. In this volume, Wright takes on the 'platonized' version of Christianity that marks nearly all of the Western church, namely the view of atonement and eschatology ending with us 'abandoning' earth and 'going to heaven.' This is a grave error, according to Wright. Rather than living by a 'works contract' view of atonement (for this is highlights the penal substitution perspective), Wr ...more
Jens Hieber
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is incredible. While some might find the repeated definitions of technical terms tiring, or the constant reiterations/repetitions of meaning problematic, I found them helpful. This is an accessible text about some rather complex topics. He's written this so anyone can read it, rather than needing a theology degree to get at the beautiful complexity of what happened on the cross.

In this book, he seeks to explore what gives the cross its power and in doing so, Wright addresses an incredi
Misael G
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disagree with his view of the atonement and the structures his arguments. I think he pits arguments against one another that aren't necessarily in opposition to one another - ie. PSA vs. "Christus Victor" or other theories of the atonement. A good read to think of the atonement from another perspective, but the straw men he builds can be frustrating. Not every Christian who believes Penal Substitutionary Atonement has a platonic view of heaven, and not every christian who believes in PSA forgets ...more
Greg Miller
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
... Give it a good read. Take some of the many great well thought out points, and leave some of the less coherent ones. This book describes much of NT Wright's work, great insight that is much needed in the church, but is also weirdly incoherent in spots.
I decided to take my time reading this book in caution and curiosity bc of the criticism Wright has received. I must say that i do not find most of the criticism to really be accurate to what Wright is saying. Does Wright tend to go on little un
Phillip Howell
In general, what Wright is affirming in this book is glorious both in content and in presentation, but what he is denying in this book is both unnecessary and saddening. He says he will be accused of caricatures, so at least he is aware of one of his biggest writings flaws in this book. He accuses others of scratching verses out or acting like they do not exist, but in his denial of penal substitution he too is to be blamed for making this error. In sum, I had a love/hate relationship with this ...more
Peter Yock
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a little hesitant to write a review of this book because I did the whole book via Audible - and I think this is definitely a book better READ than LISTENED to. But there's no way around it: NT Wright is one of the most majestic writers on the planet today. His sections on the Gospels and Acts in this book were extraordinarily powerful and helpful. I'm wary of some of his analyses of Romans - which is probably unsurprising. But this book was extremely encouraging and helpful. Would be much be ...more
Robb Sutherland
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
All spoiler free...

I really love this book. Wright examines the bible not as a series of proof texts to support presupposed theological opinion but as a cohesive whole with an historic context. He reviews what Jesus was starting in the context of OT history and what the gospel writers believed he achieved. Then he looks at the letters of the evangelists.

Why only 4 stars? This book is about twice as long as it should be. Wright second guesses all of his future critics throughout. He’d have been
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N. T. Wright is the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England (2003-2010) and one of the world's leading Bible scholars. He is now serving as the chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews. He has been featured on ABC News, Dateline NBC, The Colbert Report, and Fresh Air, and he has taught New Testament studies at Cambridge, McGi ...more

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“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  Theodor Geisel said...
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“since humans are made for the life that comes from God and God alone, to worship that which is not God is to fall in love with death. Here” 3 likes
“A new sort of power will be let loose upon the world, and it will be the power of self-giving love. This is the heart of the revolution that was launched on Good Friday. You cannot defeat the usual sort of power by the usual sort of means. If one force overcomes another, it is still “force” that wins. Rather, at the heart of the victory of God over all the powers of the world there lies self-giving love, which, in obedience to the ancient prophetic vocation, will give its life “as a ransom for many.” Exactly” 3 likes
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