Douglas Moo on Richard Hays’ Echoes of Scripture

This post is a bit of inside baseball for the bibliophiles and theologues who read this blog. Yesterday, I commented on the new issue of SBJT on the book of Romans. Douglas Moo is one of the contributors and is well known as an accomplished Pauline specialist. He is especially known for his thick commentary on Romans in the NICNT series.

Anyway, Moo’s article in SBJT is about Paul’s use of the Old Testament in the book of Romans. Moo surveys some seven approaches that scholars have used to describe Paul’s use of the Old Testament. In the course of this discussion he renders a judgment on Richard Hays‘ “intertextual” approach (which I might add is all the rage right now among many NT scholars). Moo writes:

“I would at least tentatively suggest that Hays’s proposal, along with other similar intertextual methods, is influenced not a little by postmodern views of meaning and interpretation. . . Postmodernism, to the degree that I understand it, poses both opportunities and challenges to evangelical Christianity. But surely its greatest challenge is the denial that absolute truth can be discovered. And it is a this point that I am finally unsatisfied with Hays’s proposal about Paul’s interpretation of the OT. For all its strengths, it does not quite go far enough in dealing with the problem of validity.”

Douglas Moo, “Paul’s Universalizing Hermeneutic in Romans” SBJT 11.3 [2007]: 83-84.


  • Bryan L

    What is his complaint against Hays’ intertextual method? What is postmodern about it? You figure he would be happy with Hays’ method which says that Paul was a careful interpreter of Israel’s scriptures instead of just saying Paul ripped the OT out of its context and the background of the OT passages have nothing to do what Paul is using them for.

    I saw Schreiner take a similar view in one of his articles on Romans that the OT context really didn’t matter in interpreting a parts of Romans that utilized the OT.

    That’s why I find Wright so persuasive in his Romans commentary because he takes Paul’s usage of scripture very seriously and is constantly appealing to the narrative of Israel as being in the background of Paul’s letter and showing how it makes sense of the letter.

    I wonder what Jim Hamilton would say to Moo’s comments since he just wrote an enthusiastic review on a book of collected articles from Hays as well as endorsing Hays’ interpretive methods? Jim you reading this?

    Thanks for that juicy quote Denny. I wonder if we’ll start seeing some future engagement over this issue with scholars starting to line up on both sides.

    Bryan L

  • Bryan L

    The New Interpreters Bible vol 10. It is included with 2 others, Acts and 1 Corinthians (kind of like how the Expositors commentary is set up) although I wish they would just sell it separately on it’s own as each book is kind of expensive since they include at least 2 commentaries each. I highly recommend it. It is not a hard read and it is really good and he always seems to have the whole letter in mind and how it all fits together. I was going through it again recently and was reminded why I liked it so much. I’m not saying it’s perfect but I like it a lot.

    Bryan L

  • Daniel

    I definitely think that for the most part, Paul is drawing from the overall OT story. He’s not just ripping things of context and making them fit his theology.

    Evangelicals tend to think that Paul quotes Scripture like they do–i.e. prooftexting.

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