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.