Richard Hays: Historical Study and Theological Exegesis

One of the questions I am trying to answer for my thesis is how historical-critical methods and historical-grammatical methods might interact with theological exegesis. Today I was rereading an article by Hays–on how we need to read with eyes of faith–and the question is briefly addressed in his description of the practice of theological exegesis (point 3 of 12):

…historical study is internal to the practice of theological exegesis. The reasons why this is so are themselves fundamentally theological: God has created the material world, and God has acted for the redemption of that world through the incarnation of the Son in the historical person Jesus of Nazareth. History therefore cannot be either inimical or irrelevant to theology’s affirmations of truth. The more accurately we understand the historical setting of 1st-century Palestine, the more precise and faithful will be our understanding of what the incarnate Word taught, did, and suffered. The more we know about the Mediterranean world of Greco-Roman antiquity, the more nuanced will be our understanding of the ways in which the NT’s epistles summoned their readers to a conversion of the imagination.”

– Richard B. Hays, “Reading the Bible with Eyes of Faith” in Journal of Theological Interpretation I.I (2007), p.12

This is one of my favorite articles by Hays–I think it should be required reading for any class on the Bible or theology. You can read a slightly different version here.

3 thoughts on “Richard Hays: Historical Study and Theological Exegesis

  1. Hello Jessica, I greatly enjoy your writings and wish you much success for your PhD thesis 🙂

    I largely agree with what you wrote here but fail to see why the Protestant Canon is necessary more inspired than non-Canonical books as I explained here:
    http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/on-the-inspiration-of-the-bible-and-other-books-von-der-interpretation-der-bibel-und-anderen-buchern/
    http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/solo-scriptura-and-the-unique-inspiration-of-the-protestant-canon/

    Otherwise I am also a huge language nerd 🙂
    I am a Germanic Frenchman and also speaks Italian and like reading Portugese, Spanish and Dutch stuff.

    So I truly hope we will have opportunity to interact in the future.

    Could I

    Like

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