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Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels Paperback – May 15, 2017

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Editorial Reviews


This is a book to be savored, not rushed through like fast food. At one point, Hays describes the benefit of reading John’s narrative ‘attentively.’ This book demonstrates Hays’s attentive reading of the evangelists interpreting and using Scripture… Hays’s work will be useful for those studying one or more of the Gospels and for those researching the use of the Scriptures of Israel in the NT. Failure to engage with Hays would be a mistake.

(Kenneth D. Litwak Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society)

What cannot be overstated about Hays' book is the fresh way in which his methodology elucidates nuanced meaning in the Gospels as echoes of the larger story of Israel while also offering plain interpretation of standard passages. Hays' work in figural echoing is innovative, whisking a Gospel reader into other parts of scripture against standard hermeneutical practice such as grammatical-historic approaches.

(Thomas J. Savage European Journal of Theology)

This is a remarkable book for the many fresh lines of interpretative possibilities that Hays presents.

(Peter R. Rodgers Novum Testamentum)

This is a superb and important book for a truly Christian way of understanding the Scriptures.

(The Bible Today)

A lucid, perceptive, well-researched, and accessible book


A precious book that presents a learned proposal for the figural interpretation of the Synoptics and John.

(Boris Paschke Evangelical Review of Theology)

…Hays offers both an enormously rich, sensitive and holistic reading of each of the canonical gospels, and a vitally important reminder to all Christians of the Jewish and scriptural roots of their faith

(Susan Docherty Modern Believing)

Everyone should read Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels; it is a masterpiece in figural interpretation.

(Dean Deppe Calvin Theological Journal)

In this much anticipated project, Hays does for the Gospels what he previously and famously did for Paul. He investigates how the four evangelists, each in a distinctive way, operated as biblical interpreters, bearing witness to Jesus and his gospel in light of the Old Testament’s witness.

(The Christian Century)

There is subtlety and depth here, achieved only through extensive awareness of Israel’s Scriptures and the ways they can be reconfigured in the Gospels.

(Micah D. Kiel Catholic Biblical Quarterly)


This exceptional book combines thoroughness and elegance in equal measure, also conjoining scholarly rigour with bold Christian conviction in its conclusions. Richard Hays has produced here a gripping account of the diverse approaches of the evangelists to the Old Testament, and it is a volume to which I can confidently predict I will return again and again.

(Simon Gathercole, Reader in New Testament Studies and Fellow, Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge)

Every time Richard Hays has written a major book, he has opened our eyes to previously unimagined possibilities. This new book will do that too, only this time the view is an even more breathtaking invitation to fresh exegesis and theology. Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels challenges us to think differently about the way we read each of the four gospels―and therefore, by implication, about the traditions and early communities that stand behind them, and ultimately the elusive but powerful figure of the master exegete whose scripture-laden story these documents are telling.

(N.T. Wright, Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, University of St Andrews)

In this stimulating volume, Hays aims at a conversion of our imagination. By thoroughly discussing how the four Gospels adopt Scripture and create their stories of Jesus by the use of numerous Scriptural echoes, Hays lays the foundations of a biblical theology of the Four Gospels.

(Jörg Frey, Chair of New Testament Studies, University of Zürich)

Richard Hays has written another wonderful book. Exhibiting the extraordinary literary sensitivity and erudition of his Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul, Hays produces here an even more important argument than in that previous, now-classic work. ​By tracing carefully the underpinnings of Hebrew biblical allusions in the Gospels, Hays shows how tightly these works are bound up with Israel, the God of Israel, and the Scripture of Israel. The theological implications of this work are astounding. Hays expresses it all in clear and limpid prose that makes the exegesis and the stakes clear as a be

(Daniel Boyarin, author of The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ (2012), University of California, Berkeley)

In Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels, Richard Hays reads the four Gospels with an acuity of perception that is unmatched. His attention to scriptural subtexts allows each of the evangelists' visions to emerge from behind centuries' worth of obscuring and false assumptions, and to seize one's imagination afresh. Hays' prose is elegant and his arguments are utterly persuasive. Are we really prepared to hear the evangelists speak with this kind of clarity and power?

(Susan Garrett, Dean and Professor of New Testament, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary)

Roughly a quarter of a century after his groundbreaking monograph Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul, Richard Hays stimulates the ongoing discussion of intertextuality in New Testament writings with an impressive analysis of Scripture’s polyphonic resonance in the four canonical stories of Jesus and how these intertextual semantic effects contribute substantially to the meaning and rhetorical cogency of the narratives. Richard Hays’ ability to survey broad fields of knowledge and to synthesize complex textual phenomena makes Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels essential reading for everyone who is interested in the relevance of Scripture for understanding New Testament texts.

(Matthias Konradt, Lehrstuhl für Neutestamentliche Theologie, Theologische Fakultät, Universität Heidelberg)

A real masterwork from one of the most creative of contemporary New Testament scholars. Anyone who feels nervous about exploring a fully theological reading of the Gospels will take heart from this comprehensive, sophisticated and profoundly nourishing account of how the Gospels themselves use Scripture theologically and invite us to do the same.

(Rowan Williams, Master, Magdalene College, University of Cambridge)

Richard Hays’ Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels allows us to hear a rich chorus of voices in Scripture long silent. Like his Echoes in the Letters of Paul, Hays has performed nothing less than a Copernican revolution in turning the whole discipline of literary parallels and influences upon an author ‘inside out’: Instead of New Testament authors like Mark or Matthew reaching back to pluck some citation to fit their need in presenting the gospel, Hays demonstrates that it was Scripture itself pressing and prodding and pushing its way into the formative thoughts and sermons and teachings about Jesus. instead of a monotone word of the Evangelists’ redaction, now suddenly a mixed chorale of melodies, a heavenly polyphony of scriptural songs burst through brightly, brilliantly to illuminate the ‘good news’ of God’s reign. In Hays’ Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels, God is anything but silent.

(David P. Moessner, A. A. Bradford Chair and Professor of Religion, Texas Christian University)

A masterful achievement by a great scholar at the peak of his powers, Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels is a book that I expect to be revisiting for the rest of my life. Richard Hays traces with both depth and clarity the diverse uses the evangelists make of the Hebrew scriptures. His conclusion draws its title from the Emmaus Road story: ‘Did not our hearts burn within us?’ Indeed they did, and do.

(Alan Jacobs, Distinguished Professor of Humanities in the Honors Program, Baylor University)

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