Friday, September 9, 2022
Richard Hays lecture at microphone

Richard Hays, George Washington Ivey Professor Emeritus of New Testament, has been awarded the 2022 Burkitt Medal for Biblical Studies by the British Academy for his internationally recognized and influential work on the Gospels, the letters of Paul, and New Testament ethics.

The Burkitt Medal, established in 1923, is awarded in even-numbered years for special service to New Testament studies by the British Academy, the United Kingdom’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences. In odd-numbered years, the medal is awarded for service to Hebrew Bible studies.

Professor Hays’ work has bridged the disciplines of biblical criticism and literary studies, exploring the innovative ways in which early Christian writers interpreted Israel’s Scripture. He has also consistently sought to demonstrate how close reading of the New Testament can inform the church’s theological reflection, proclamation, and ministry.

Said Hays of the medal announcement: "I am honored by the wholly unexpected news that I am to receive the 2022 Burkitt Medal from the British Academy. I am grateful for this recognition of my work, and amazed to be included in the company of the distinguished recipients of this medal. It is gratifying to me to note that among those past recipients was Professor W. D. Davies, one of my predecessors in the Ivey Chair at Duke University.”

Previously on the faculty of Yale Divinity School, Hays joined the Duke Divinity School faculty in 1991. In 2002 he was named the George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament, a position he held until his retirement in 2018. From 2010 to 2015, he served as dean of Duke Divinity School.

Hays’ most important books include Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (1989), The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New Creation (1996), First Corinthians (Interpretation Commentary, 1997), The Conversion of the Imagination: Paul as Interpreter of Israel’s Scripture (2005), Reading Backwards: Figural Christology and the Fourfold Gospel Witness (2014), Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels (2016), and Reading with the Grain of Scripture (2020). 

Hays has taken a leadership role in collaborative scholarly projects and in professional societies, including the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton. His collaborations with Professor Stefan Alkier of Frankfurt led to two co-edited volumes: Die Bibel im Dialog der Schriften: Konzepte intertextueller Bibellektüre (2005) and Revelation and the Politics of Apocalyptic Interpretation (2012). As dean of Duke Divinity School, he played a significant role in supporting and expanding Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts.

"As I grow older, I become more aware that all our scholarly pursuits are, as Eliot saw, ‘a raid on the inarticulate,’” Hays said. “I am grateful that the Academy has recognized my work as a useful contribution to that raiding mission.”