Richard B. Hays

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For those of a similar name, see Richard Hayes (disambiguation).

Richard B. Hays (born May 4, 1948) is an American New Testament scholar who stepped down in October 2015 from his position as dean and George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. Hays received his B.A in English literature from Yale College; his Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School; and a Ph.D from Emory University.


Hays is considered one of the world's leading New Testament scholars,[1][2] with Stanley Hauerwas writing "There are few people I would rather read for the actual exposition of the New Testament than Richard Hays."[3] Hays' work focuses on New Testament theology and ethics, the Pauline epistles, and early Christian interpretation of the Old Testament.

In the field of New Testament studies, Hays has often been identified with figures such as N.T. Wright[citation needed], Luke Timothy Johnson[citation needed] and Raymond Brown[citation needed]. Some of Professor Hays' studies surround the narrative interpretation of Scripture, the New Testament's use of the Old Testament, the subjective genitive reading of pistis Christou ("faith(fulness) of Christ") in Paul, and the role of community in the New Testament. Hays is well known for his criticisms of the Jesus Seminar and the modern Historical Jesus movement. Hays has also been vocal about his criticisms of Dan Brown's best-selling The Da Vinci Code for its controversial historical claims.

Christianity Today named Hays's book Moral Vision of the New Testament one of the top 100 most important religious books of the 20th century.[4] As a theologically conservative Methodist, he has throughout the course of his career remained committed to his Wesleyan roots in emphasizing the importance of charity and friendship in the Christian life. Moreover, Hays is a committed pacifist. He makes his position clear in The Moral Vision of the New Testament, in which he argues that Jesus Christ taught his disciples to be non-violent.

In 2008, a Festschrift was published in his honor. The Word Leaps the Gap: Essays on Scripture and Theology in Honor of Richard B. Hays included contributions from Stanley Hauerwas, E. P. Sanders, James D. G. Dunn, Francis Watson, N. T. Wright, and Ellen F. Davis.



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