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Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels
The claim that the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection took place “according to the Scriptures” stands at the heart of the New Testament’s message. All four canonical Gospels declare that the Torah and the Prophets and the Psalms mysteriously prefigure Jesus. The author of the Fourth Gospel states this claim succinctly: in his narrative, Jesus declares, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me” (John 5:46). Yet modern historical criticism characteristically judges that the New Testament’s christological readings of Israel’s Scripture misrepresent the original sense of the texts; this judgment forces fundamental questions to be asked: Why do the Gospel writers read the Scriptures in such surprising ways? Are their readings intelligible as coherent or persuasive interpretations of the Scriptures? Does Christian faith require the illegitimate theft of someone else’s sacred texts?
Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels answers these questions. Richard B. Hays chronicles the dramatically different ways the four Gospel writers interpreted Israel’s Scripture and reveals that their readings were as complementary as they were faithful. In this long-awaited sequel to his Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul, Hays highlights the theological consequences of the Gospel writers’ distinctive hermeneutical approaches and asks what it might mean for contemporary readers to attempt to read Scripture through the eyes of the Evangelists. In particular, Hays carefully describes the Evangelists’ practice of figural reading—an imaginative and retrospective move that creates narrative continuity and wholeness. He shows how each Gospel artfully uses scriptural echoes to re-narrate Israel’s story, to assert that Jesus is the embodiment of Israel’s God, and to prod the church in its vocation to engage the pagan world.
Hays shows how the Evangelists summon readers to a conversion of their imagination. The Evangelists’ use of scriptural echo beckons readers to believe the extraordinary: that Jesus was Israel’s Messiah, that Jesus is Israel’s God, and that contemporary believers are still on mission. The Evangelists, according to Hays, are training our scriptural senses, calling readers to be better scriptural people by being better scriptural poets.
Introduction: Figural Interpretation of Israel’s Scripture
The Evangelists as Readers of Israel’s Scripture
Part 1. The Gospel of Mark: Herald of Mystery
1. “Take heed what you hear”: Mark as Interpreter of Scripture
2. Apocalyptic Judgment and Expectancy: Israel’s Story in Mark’s Narrative
3. Jesus as the Crucified Messiah
4. Watchful Endurance: The Church’s Suffering in Mark’s Narrative
5. “Hidden in order to be revealed”: Mark’s Scriptural Hermeneutics
Part 2. The Gospel of Matthew: Torah Transfigured
6. The Law and the Prophets Fulfilled: Matthew as Interpreter of Scripture
7. The End of Exile: Israel’s Story in Matthew’s Narrative
8. Jesus as Emmanuel
9. Making Disciples of All Nations: The Church’s Mission in Matthew’s Narrative
10. The Transfiguration of Torah: Matthew’s Scriptural Hermeneutics
Part 3. The Gospel of Luke: The Liberation of Israel
11. Continuing the Scriptural Story: Luke as Interpreter of Scripture
12. The Promise of Israel’s Liberation: Israel’s Story in Luke’s Narrative
13. Jesus as the Redeemer of Israel
14. Light to the Nations: The Church’s Witness in Luke’s Narrative
15. Opened Eyes and Minds: Luke’s Scriptural Hermeneutics
Part 4. The Gospel of John: The Temple of His Body
16. “Come and see”: John as Interpreter of Scripture
17. “Salvation is from the Jews”: Israel’s Story in John’s Narrative
18. Jesus as the Temple
19. The Vine and the Branches: The Church’s Oneness in John’s Narrative
20. The Figural Web: John’s Scriptural Hermeneutics
Conclusion: Did Not Our Hearts Burn within Us?
Index of Scripture and Ancient Sources
Index of Names
"The conclusions [Hays] draws will empower contemporary believers to see the messianic threads of the Bible as an ongoing mission. This is a fine, convincing work of scholarship on a delicate theological topic."
"A masterful achievement by a great scholar at the peak of his powers, Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels is a book that I expect to be revisiting for the rest of my life. Richard Hays traces with both depth and clarity the diverse uses the evangelists make of the Hebrew scriptures. His conclusion draws its title from the Emmaus Road story: ‘Did not our hearts burn within us?’ Indeed they did, and do."
—Alan Jacobs, Distinguished Professor of Humanities in the Honors Program, Baylor University
"Richard Hays’ Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels allows us to hear a rich chorus of voices in Scripture long silent. Like his Echoes in the Letters of Paul, Hays has performed nothing less than a Copernican revolution in turning the whole discipline of literary parallels and influences upon an author ‘inside out’: Instead of New Testament authors like Mark or Matthew reaching back to pluck some citation to fit their need in presenting the gospel, Hays demonstrates that it was Scripture itself pressing and prodding and pushing its way into the formative thoughts and sermons and teachings about Jesus. Instead of a monotone word of the Evangelists’ redaction, now suddenly a mixed chorale of melodies, a heavenly polyphony of scriptural songs burst through brightly, brilliantly to illuminate the ‘good news’ of God’s reign. In Hays’ Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels, God is anything but silent."
—David P. Moessner, A. A. Bradford Chair and Professor of Religion, Texas Christian University
"In this stimulating volume, Hays aims at a conversion of our imagination. By thoroughly discussing how the four Gospels adopt Scripture and create their stories of Jesus by the use of numerous Scriptural echoes, Hays lays the foundations of a biblical theology of the Four Gospels."
—Jörg Frey, Chair of New Testament Studies, University of Zürich
"Every time Richard Hays has written a major book, he has opened our eyes to previously unimagined possibilities. This new book will do that too, only this time the view is an even more breath-taking invitation to fresh exegesis and theology. Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels challenges us to think differently about the way we read each of the four gospels—and therefore, by implication, about the traditions and early communities that stand behind them, and ultimately the elusive but powerful figure of the master exegete whose scripture-laden story these documents are telling."
—N.T. Wright, Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, University of St Andrews
"Roughly a quarter of a century after his groundbreaking monograph Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul, Richard Hays stimulates the ongoing discussion of intertextuality in New Testament writings with an impressive analysis of Scripture’s polyphonic resonance in the four canonical stories of Jesus and how these intertextual semantic effects contribute substantially to the meaning and rhetorical cogency of the narratives. Richard Hays’ ability to survey broad fields of knowledge and to synthesize complex textual phenomena makes Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels essential reading for everyone who is interested in the relevance of Scripture for understanding New Testament texts."
—Matthias Konradt, Lehrstuhl für Neutestamentliche Theologie, Theologische Fakultät, Universität Heidelberg
"This exceptional book combines thoroughness and elegance in equal measure, also conjoining scholarly rigour with bold Christian conviction in its conclusions. Richard Hays has produced here a gripping account of the diverse approaches of the evangelists to the Old Testament, and it is a volume to which I can confidently predict I will return again and again."
—Simon Gathercole, Reader in New Testament, University of Cambridge and Fellow and Director of Studies in Theology, Fitzwilliam College
"Richard Hays has written another wonderful book. Exhibiting the extraordinary literary sensitivity and erudition of his Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul, Hays produces here an even more important argument than in that previous now-classic work. By tracing carefully the underpinnings of Hebrew biblical allusions in the Gospels, Hays shows how tightly these works are bound up with Israel, the God of Israel, and the Scripture of Israel. The theological implications of this work are astounding. Hays expresses it all in clear and limpid prose that makes the exegesis and the stakes clear as a bell."
—Daniel Boyarin, author of The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ (2012), University of California, Berkeley
"In Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels, Richard Hays reads the four Gospels with an acuity of perception that is unmatched. His attention to scriptural subtexts allows each of the evangelists' visions to emerge from behind centuries' worth of obscuring and false assumptions, and to seize one's imagination afresh. Hays' prose is elegant and his arguments are utterly persuasive. Are we really prepared to hear the evangelists speak with this kind of clarity and power?"
—Susan Garrett, Dean and Professor of New Testament, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
"A lucid, perceptive, well-researched, and accessible book"
"A real masterwork from one of the most creative of contemporary New Testament scholars. Anyone who feels nervous about exploring a fully theological reading of the Gospels will take heart from this comprehensive, sophisticated and profoundly nourishing account of how the Gospels themselves use Scripture theologically and invite us to do the same."
—Rowan Williams, Master, Magdalen College, University of Cambridge
"This is a superb and important book for a truly Christian way of understanding the Scriptures."
—The Bible Today
"In this much anticipated project, Hays does for the Gospels what he previously and famously did for Paul. He investigates how the four evangelists, each in a distinctive way, operated as biblical interpreters, bearing witness to Jesus and his gospel in light of the Old Testament’s witness."
Richard B. Hays, George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School, is internationally recognized for his work on the letters of Paul and on New Testament ethics. His scholarship has bridged the disciplines of biblical criticism and literary studies, exploring the innovative ways in which early Christian writers interpreted Israel’s Scripture. His works include Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (Yale University Press, 1989), The Conversion of the Imagination: Paul as Interpreter of Israel’s Scripture (Eerdmans, 2005), and Reading Backwards: Figural Christology and the Fourfold Gospel Witness (Baylor University Press, 2014).
PROSE Awards Category for Theology & Religious Studies - 2017 - - Winner