Thursday, December 17, 2020

A collection of essays on the major themes of internationally renowned New Testament scholar Richard B. Hays's exegetical and theological work over more than two decades has received a 2021 Christianity Today Book Award in the Biblical Studies category.

The book, Reading with the Grain of Scripture, was published in October 2020 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. and contains his most significant essays over the last twenty-five years and represents the full fruition of his body of work. Hays is the George Washington Ivey Professor Emeritus of New Testament and former dean at Duke Divinity School.

The magazine announced the awards for new books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture online Dec. 15. The awards also will be featured in magazine’s January/February print issue.

This volume of the New Testament scholar’s finest work features penetrating theological and exegetical insights, said Carol Kaminski, professor of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, in the awards announcement. “Like a masterful composer building a complex symphony, Hays artfully weaves together his writings, allowing the reader to hear recurring melodies that focus on Scripture as narrative, the unity of Scripture, reading Scripture within the community of faith, and the centrality of Jesus’ resurrection…Ultimately, the book testifies to the complexity and coherence of the biblical story, sung by many voices but written by one author, God himself.”

Dr. Hays said earlier that “all the essays illustrate, in one way or another, how I have sought to carry out scholarly work as an aspect of discipleship—as a process of faith seeking exegetical clarity.” Especially noted for his work on the Gospels, the letters of Paul, and on New Testament ethics, Hays served as a faculty member at Duke Divinity School from 1991 until retiring in 2018. He also served as the school’s dean from 2010 to 2015.

While the essays were written throughout his academic career, Hays wrote a new introduction and conclusion to this collection. The book’s themes are: the importance of narrative as the “glue” that holds the Bible together, the figural coherence between the Old and New Testaments, the centrality of the resurrection of Jesus, the hope for New Creation and God’s eschatological transformation of the world, the importance of standing in trusting humility before the text, and the significance of reading Scripture within and for the community of faith.

Hays has written numerous books including The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New Creation, which was selected by Christianity Today in 1996 as one of the 100 most important religious books of the twentieth century. His other books include: Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (1989), First Corinthians (Interpretation Commentary, 1997), The Art of Reading Scripture (2003, co-edited with Duke Divinity School Professor Ellen Davis), The Conversion of the Imagination (2005), Seeking the Identity of Jesus: A Pilgrimage (2008, co-edited with Beverly Roberts Gaventa), Revelation and the Politics of Apocalyptic Interpretation (2012, co-edited with Stefan Alkier), Reading Backwards: Figural Christology and the Fourfold Gospel Witness (2014), and Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels (2016).

Read an article about the book.

Read a review on Patheos.com of Reading with the Grain of Scripture.