The Leading eBooks Store Online 4,385,058 members ⚫ 1,459,539 ebooks

New to

Learn more

Reading Backwards

Figural Christology and the Fourfold Gospel Witness

Reading Backwards by Richard B. Hays
Buy this eBook
US$ 29.95
(If any tax is payable it will be calculated and shown at checkout.)
In Reading Backwards Richard B. Hays maps the shocking ways the four Gospel writers interpreted Israel's Scripture to craft their literary witnesses to the Church's one Christ. The Gospels' scriptural imagination discovered inside the long tradition of a resilient Jewish monotheism a novel and revolutionary Christology.

Modernity's incredulity toward the Christian faith partly rests upon the characterization of early Christian preaching as a tendentious misreading of the Hebrew Scriptures. Christianity, modernity claims, twisted the Bible they inherited to fit its message about a mythological divine Savior. The Gospels, for many modern critics, are thus more about Christian doctrine in the second and third century than they are about Jesus in the first.

Such Christian "misreadings" are not late or politically motivated developments within Christian thought. As Hays demonstrates, the claim that the events of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection took place "according to the Scriptures" stands at the very heart of the New Testament's earliest message. All four canonical Gospels declare that the Torah and the Prophets and the Psalms mysteriously prefigure Jesus. The author of the Fourth Gospel puts the claim succinctly: "If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me" (John 5:46).

Hays thus traces thereading strategies the Gospel writers employ to "read backwards" and to discover how the Old Testament figuratively discloses the astonishing paradoxical truth about Jesus' identity. Attention to Jewish and Old Testament roots of the Gospel narratives reveals that each of the four Evangelists, in their diverse portrayals, identify Jesus as the embodiment of the God of Israel. Hays also explores the hermeneutical challenges posed by attempting to follow the Evangelists as readers of Israel's Scripture—can the Evangelists teach us to read backwards along with them and to discern the same mystery they discovered in Israel's story?

In Reading Backwards Hays demonstrates that it was Israel's Scripture itself that taught the Gospel writers how to understand Jesus as the embodied presence of God, that this conversion of imagination occurred early in the development of Christian theology, and that the Gospel writers' revisionary figural readings of their Bible stand at the very center of Christianity.
Baylor University Press; November 2014
172 pages; ISBN 9781481303521
Read online, or download in secure EPUB
Title: Reading Backwards
Author: Richard B. Hays
  • News
  • Tweets
High Gospel Christology - First Things (blog)
Thu, 21 Apr 2016 09:48:49 -0700
High Gospel ChristologyFirst Things (blog)Yesterday I wrote about the broad argument in Richard B. Hays book, Reading ...
Handel's Messiah, Jesus, and the Old Testament - Huffington Post
Thu, 11 Dec 2014 12:33:47 -0800
Handel's Messiah, Jesus, and the Old TestamentHuffington PostIn a short and eminently readable book, Reading Backwards, ...
Spring books - The Christian Century
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 07:42:45 -0700
The Christian CenturySpring booksThe Christian CenturyKatherine Willis Pershey on Wearing God, by Lauren Winner: I read ...