Modern Believing

Book Reviews

Modern Believing (2017), 58, (3), 265–313.


BOOK REVIEWS R. B. Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2016. Pp. xx, 504. Hb. $34.95. ISBN 978-1-4813-0491-7. Richard Hays’s ground-breaking study of the Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (Yale University Press, 1989) has served as a key reference text for nearly three decades for all those interested in the interpretation of the Old Testament in the New. In this eagerly anticipated volume, he brings the same hermeneutical approach to bear on investigation into the use of scripture in the gospels. Sadly, its publication had to be brought forward urgently due to his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer in late 2015. The main lines of the argument presented here were drawn in the Hulsean lectures delivered in Cambridge in 2013–14 and subsequently published as Reading Backwards (SPCK, 2015; reviewed in this journal in April 2016). Sections of this volume, making up at least one quarter of the total, are identical to Reading Backwards. However, the particular focus of the Hulsean lectures was the theme of christology and the divine identity of Jesus, and this larger book is a broader exploration of other aspects of the scriptural interpretation of each gospel, including the way in which the nature and mission of the Church are depicted. Hays argues that each evangelist used scriptural echoes to shape their narrative about the life and significance of Jesus. Although each offered a very different reading of scripture, all four, in Hays’s view, were faithful to its original meaning and complement one another. In Mark’s account, the connections between Israel’s scripture and the story of Jesus are subtly hinted at, but rarely drawn out explicitly. Hays is able, therefore, to foreground the importance of scripture for Mark’s themes of judgment and restoration in a way which has been missed by some previous commentators (although it has been highlighted in several more recent studies, such as those by Watts, Marcus and Hatina). Matthew’s gospel includes much more overt use of scripture, such as proof-texts and fulfilment quotations. Hays’s work, however, reminds us that these Modern Believing 58.3 2017

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