Hays’s exegesis is frequently scintillating, not least in its vindication of the evangelists’ citations of the Scriptures against those who accuse them of haphazard, opportunistic, or careless misappropriation. Rather than treating the Old Testament as a grab bag of predictive prooftexts, Hays demonstrates that the skilful interweaving of citations and allusions in a text like Mark 1:1–3 establishes a scriptural matrix within which the mystery of the Messiah will be disclosed to those who have the ears to hear. Matthew’s more overt citations, which are also often subtly blended quotations, accomplish something similar, illuminating the deep correspondences between Christ and his precursors and the manner in which ‘he gathers into himself the significations imbedded in their stories’ (189).
In contrast to figural readings that focus narrowly on a one-to-one relation between types and antitypes, for Hays significations and motifs routinely overlap, recur, and coalesce in a more musical fashion. The literary artistry of Luke, for instance, manifests a world that is richly redolent with scriptural memory, reverberating with its expectant whispers. Each fleeting appearance of a variation upon a given scriptural theme affords the attentive hearer an enlightening foil against which to understand the evangelist’s story of God’s salvation in Jesus. John presents a more transfigural reading of Scripture, summoning his readers ‘to recognize the way in which Israel’s Scripture has always been mysteriously suffused with the presence of Jesus’ (289).
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