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Richard B. Hays

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Richard B. Hays
Richard Bevan Hays

(1948-05-04) May 4, 1948 (age 76)
Judy Hays
(m. 1970)
Ecclesiastical career
ReligionChristianity (Methodist)
ChurchUnited Methodist Church
Academic background
Alma mater
Academic work
DisciplineBiblical studies
Sub-disciplineNew Testament studies

Richard Bevan Hays (born May 4, 1948) is an American New Testament scholar and George Washington Ivey Professor Emeritus of New Testament Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. He is an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church.

Education and career


Hays received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Yale College, his Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, and his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Emory University.

Hays returned to Yale Divinity School as an Assistant Professor of New Testament in 1981 and taught there until 1991, when he moved to Duke Divinity School. He was named George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament in 2002. In 2010, he became Dean of the Divinity School. He stepped down from the role of Dean in 2015 and went on medical leave following a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. After successful treatment, he was able to return to teaching, and retired in 2018.[2][3]



Hays is considered one of the world's leading New Testament scholars,[4] with Stanley Hauerwas writing "There are few people I would rather read for the actual exposition of the New Testament than Richard Hays."[5] 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] and Luke Timothy Johnson[citation needed]. Some of 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.[6] 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.

Selected works



  • Hays, Richard B. (1989). Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300044713.[7]
  • ——— (1996). The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New Creation. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco. ISBN 978-0-0606-3796-5. OCLC 34409994.[8]
  • ——— (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation. Louisville, KT: Westminster, John Knox Press.[9]
  • ——— (1998). New Testament Ethics: the story retold. J. J. Thiessen lectures. Vol. 1997. Winnipeg, OT: CMBC Publications. ISBN 978-0-9207-1861-2. OCLC 40052874.
  • ——— (2002). The Faith of Jesus Christ: The Narrative Substructure of Galatians 3:1-4:11 (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
  • ——— (2005). The Conversion of the Imagination: Paul as Interpreter of Israel's Scripture. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.[10]
  • ——— (2014). Reading Backwards: figural Christology and the fourfold gospel witness. London: SPCK Publishing. ISBN 978-0281074082.
  • ——— (2016). Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels. Baylor University Press. ISBN 9781481305242.
  • ——— (2020). Reading with the Grain of Scripture. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 9780802878458.

Edited by



  • ——— (2003). "Reading Scripture in Light of the Resurrection". In ———; Davis, Ellen F. (eds.). The Art of Reading Scripture. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. pp. 216–38. ISBN 9780802812698. OCLC 53287862.
  • ——— (2008). "The Story of God's Son: The identity of Jesus in the letters of Paul". In ———; Gaventa, Beverly Roberts (eds.). Seeking the Identity of Jesus: A Pilgrimage. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. pp. 180–99. ISBN 9780802824714. OCLC 213452269.
  • ——— (2009). "The Liberation of Israel in Luke-Acts: intertextual narration as countercultural practice". In ———; Alkier, Stefan; Huizenga, Leroy Andrew (eds.). Reading the Bible intertextually. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press. pp. 101–18. ISBN 9781602581807. OCLC 213599385.
  • ——— (2012). "Faithful Witness, Alpha and Omega: the identity of Jesus in the Apocalypse of John". In ———; Alkier, Stefan (eds.). Revelation and the Politics of Apocalyptic Interpretation. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press. pp. 69–83. ISBN 9781602585614. OCLC 773273276.

Journal articles



  1. ^ "Richard Hays: Recovering the Bible for the Church". Christianity Today. Vol. 43, no. 2. February 8, 1999. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  2. ^ "Richard B. Hays [CV]" (PDF). Duke Divinity School. 5 November 2013. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  3. ^ "Watch Richard Hays's Retirement Lecture | Duke Divinity School". divinity.duke.edu. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  4. ^ "Author, New Testament Scholar Richard Hays at Samford Sept. 6". Samford University. 2007-08-16. Archived from the original on February 15, 2017. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  5. ^ Dust cover of Richard Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament (New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1996)
  6. ^ "Books of the Century". ChristianityToday.com. April 24, 2000. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  7. ^ Hays, Richard B. (1989). Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300054297. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  8. ^ Hays, Richard (27 October 2004). The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New Creation. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 9780567085696. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  9. ^ Hays, Richard B. (1999). First Corinthians. John KNox. ISBN 9780664237653. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  10. ^ Hays, Richard B. (13 July 2005). The Conversion of the Imagination: Paul as Interpreter of Israel's Scripture. Wm. B. Eerdmans. ISBN 9780802812629. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  11. ^ Davis, Ellen F.; Hays, Richard B. (2 October 2003). The Art of Reading Scripture. Wm. B. Eerdmans. ISBN 9780802812698. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  12. ^ Gaventa, Beverly Roberts; Hays, Richard B. (15 October 2008). Seeking the Identity of Jesus: A Pilgrimage. Wm. B. Eerdmans. ISBN 9780802824714. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
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