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Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul [Paperback]

Richard B Hays
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 12.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 Feb 1993
Paul's letters, the earliest writings in the New Testament, are filled with allusions, images and quotations from the Old Testament. This book investigates Paul's appropriation of Scripture from a perspective based on recent literary-critical studies of intertextuality.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; New edition edition (25 Feb 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300054297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300054293
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 16 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 188,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The apostle Paul introduces as spokesman for his gospel a character named The Righteousness from Faith, who repeats lines penned long before in Israel's Scripture: Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?" . . . or "Who will descend into the abyss?" . . . Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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5.0 out of 5 stars Profound 28 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Profound and enlightening
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hays is a craftsman with words 30 Dec 1997
By C. Dennis Shaw - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Nascent New Testament theologians should look to Dr. Richard Hays of Duke Divinity School for how to construct a sentence that is both entertaining and thought provoking. His are beautifully written as well as meaningful.

It is Dr. Hays thesis that we can better understand the writings of Paul if we first understand his hermenuetics. And for Paul, that means that he reads consistently the Christian experience through a lens that has been crafted by a fine honing of knowledge from the Hebrew Scriptures. It is in the pulling up of Hebrew Scriptures that preceded or follow the obvious linkage with a particular Pauline passage that we find the most meaning Hays argues.

His writing is compelling, understandable and, yes , persuasive. I would commend this book to anyone who is trying to understand Paul and what he means. This is of particular valuable in developing a biblical understanding of the theological implications of Romans 9-11.

Dennis Shaw
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The word alive and active 17 April 2006
By Bahij Bawarshi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Is Scripture an unchanging word, fixed in the past, or is it dynamic, alive, taking on new meanings as it addresses competent readers in the present? Who is a competent reader? And, Richard Hays asks, "If the word is so alive and active on the lips and in the hearts of the community of faith, how then must we read?" These are questions that, directly or indirectly, occupy most of Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul, where Hays examines some of Paul's highly innovative scriptural readings. He treats Paul's letters as "hermeneutical events," in which Paul reinterpreted Scripture for his churches. More than is usually recognized, Paul made use of intertextuality, embedding fragments of Scripture in his own discourse; in most cases he did so allusively, rather than by direct citation - the reader has to listen to the echoes of the original text in what Paul has written. Often enough, the echo is too faint to be noted. Of one instance Hays writes, "Any reader who knows where the words come from will surely smile in recognition of the point; most readers will miss the point altogether." The immense value of this study lies in its potential to lead earnest readers to a keener appreciation of Paul, as Hays uncovers suppressed allusions in a number of examples taken from Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Philippians.

The effect is almost always surprising; sometimes one wonders at Paul's subtlety; at other times one asks whether it is really Hays' ingenuity that has conjured up an echo that did not occur to Paul. As it turns out, it does not matter. Hays argues that to limit the interpretation of scriptural echoes to what Paul intended is to create artificial limitations and restrict the hermeneutical freedom which Paul himself employed. For one thing, "what he intended is a matter of historical speculation;" for another, "Scripture generates through Paul new figurations." The implicit point is that a modern interpreter of Paul can learn from him how to read Scripture imaginatively, yet faithfully. This is treated at length in the fifth and last chapter of the book. Before then, in the first chapter, Hays reviews different approaches to Pauline hermeneutics and proposes his own, taking leads from literary-critical discussions of the "phenomenon of intertextuality." The following three chapters are a tour de force of riveting interpretation. If I have to single out one major theme among several - and which Hays works over and over from different angles - it would be that Paul understood Scripture (i.e., the OT) as prefiguring the church; it was neither annulled nor superseded, but pointed to the gospel as proclaimed by Paul. Hays speaks of the transforming power of Scripture rightly understood. "The meaning of Scripture is enacted in the Christian community, and only those who participate in the enactment can understand the text." He passionately pleads the same point in the page before last, a fitting conclusion to an insightful and original work: "Community in the likeness of Christ is cruciform; therefore right interpretation is cruciform. ... Any reading of Scripture that requires of us something other or less than this is a false reading."

This remarkable book has not gone unquestioned by other scholars, and has generated lively debate among Paul's interpreters. Who should read it? There is more than a hint that Hays was writing for the academic community; but non-professionals familiar with biblical (or literary) studies can read it with profit and a sense of fulfillment. All readers must bring to it an energetic and open mind.
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well written treatise on Paul's use of the Old Testament 30 Nov 1999
By Dr. Marc Axelrod - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A lot of books on biblical studies are not very well crafted. This one is. I also like how Hays brings out the Old Testament nuances in Paul's writings. He recognizes throughout the book that Paul does not always intend to directly quote the Old Testament. He points out that the apostle often makes verbal echoes of OT passages that would resonate powerfully to the Jewish members of the early Christian congregations. Plus, as a bonus, I like all of the poetry that Hays puts in the book that captures theological motifs.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A groundbreaking work 29 May 2007
By Neil E. White - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Richard Hays groundbreaking work continues in Echoes of Scripture. Following his dissertation on the narrative substructure of Paul's letter, Hays now addresses the critical issue of how Paul interprets the scriptures in light of the experience of Christ. A must read for anyone interested in the ongoing discussion on how to understand Paul's letters.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hearing the right echoes 17 July 2013
By Michael Settle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Richard Hays in his "echoes" and "Conversion of the Imagination" provides significant insights to Paul's use of the Old Testament. There are many perspectives on Paul these days but Hays understands the apostle rightly. What Hays does so well is not only point out the explicit OT references but the "echoes" and illusions to the Hebrew Scriptures that inform Paul's understanding of who the people of God truly are.

This is a great work.
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