Richard Hays on Scripture and Creed

Richard Hays is Professor of New Testament at the Duke Divinity School. In this talk Hays invites us to read the New Testament quite intentionally through the hermeneutical lens of the Nicene Creed. “But of course,” Orthodox and Catholic Christians will remark. “How else would one read it?” But among the guild of biblical critics, which privileges the historical-critical method, Hays’s proposal sails close to heretical wind.

Near the beginning of the talk, Hays shares N. T. Wright’s response to the his project. Not surprisingly, Wright firmly rejects it. Wright is a strong supporter of the wedding of sola scriptura and the critical reading of the Bible. Precisely on this basis he launched his critique of classical Protestant presentations of the doctrine of justification—they do not faithfully represent the teaching of the Apostle Paul and the New Testament.

Wright’s scholarship has been acclaimed by orthodox believers across denominational boundaries. He is a Renaissance scholar, deep thinker, and committed believer—a rare combination indeed. But some of us have long had a concern: Does Wright appreciate the authority of the liturgical and dogmatic Tradition in the proper interpretation of Scripture? Hays alerts us to a possible danger here (also see Hays’s essay “Knowing Jesus“). Personally, I believe that Bishop Tom underestimates how his trinitarian Anglican tradition has informed his “historical” reading of Scripture.

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4 Responses to Richard Hays on Scripture and Creed

  1. Mary Holste says:

    What hermeneutic do you use, Fr Aidan? (If you don’t mind the question) I think I’ve also seen you blog in the past about a “hermeneutic of love”. Thanks!

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    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      Mary, I don’t think I’m sophisticated enough to actually have a hermeneutic 🙂

      But four points immediately come to mind:

      1) Hermeneutic of unconditional love: Scripture is to be interpreted and preached in light of the saving death of Christ and his victory over death.

      2) Hermeneutic of ecumenical dogma: Scripture is to be interpreted through the trinitarian and christological dogmas of the Church catholic.

      3) Hermeneutic of Holy Eucharist: Scripture is to be interpreted through the canonical liturgies of the Church catholic.

      4) Hermeneutic of iconology: Scripture is to interpreted through the canonical icons of the Orthodox Church.

      How does that sound as a beginning?

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  2. Fr Aidan Kimel says:

    I came across this morning Michael Gorman’s blog article on the disagreement between Hays and Wright. It is well worth reading.

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