Sunday, April 26, 2009

Book Notice: The Word Leaps the Gap

I've finally been able to spend an afternoon reading over the Richard Hays festschrift The Word Leaps the Gap: Essays on Scripture and Theology in Honor of Richard B. Hays. This is one of those uber-books with a who's who of biblical and theological scholarship involved. I won't give an article by article review, but some essays stood out for me in my afternoon of browsing through the book:

1. Luke Timothy Johnson "John and Thomas in Context: An Exercise in Canonical Criticism" - you could replace Gos. Thom. with John in the Nag Hammadi, but you can't replace John with Gos. Thom. in the NT, it doesn't sit neatly between Luke and Acts.

2. E.P. Sanders "Did Paul's Theology Develop?" where he argues that he never ever called Paul "inconsistent" or "irrational" but regarded him as a coherent though unsystematic thinker. Provides further reflections on development in the Pauline writings as a natural expression of his human personality and missiological activities.

3. James D. G. Dunn "EK PISTEOS: A Key to the Meaning of PISTIS CHRISTOU" written in letter form and closes with the words "Sorry Richard".

4. Douglas A. Campbell "An Echo of Scripture in Paul, and Its Implications" where builds on Hays' detection of an echo of Psalm 98.2-3 LXX in Rom. 1.17. Campbell asserts that divine kingship rather than covenantal faithfulness is the background to the echo in Rom. 1.17. I suspect that this is a rare and unusual convergence of Doug Campbell with Mark Seifrid who has argued similarly (but with very different nuances) about Ps 98 and "righteousness".

So many good essays in this volume, not enough time to read them all, Nijay Gupta also offers his own partial review. There is also a charming opening poem in tribute to Richard by one of his friends, a moving testimony about Richard from his daughter Sarah who is a Buddhist, and a concluding reprint of an essay by Richard and his wife Judy about growing old biblically.

I'm not a big believer in buying festschrifts, but this is a book that is genuinely good to have on the shelf with so many cool essays over diverse areas.


Paul L. Johnston said...

Campbell asserts that divine kingship rather than covenantal faithfulness is the background to the echo in Rom. 1.17.

Isn't the kingship idea a subset of the covenant? and therefore a more specific example of covenant faithfulness?

Michael said...

Thanks for taking the time, Mike. I've been looking forward to reading this volume since it came out!

John Anderson said...

As a former student of Hays, I am hopeful to be able to peek at this volume now that my Ph.D. comps are done (see my blog for my questions and thoughts on the process).

I am curious as to your thoughts on Hauerwas' 'colorful' essay I have heard much about.