I’m rather excited to share this interview with a ground-breaking scholar who has long been an inspiration to me, and one of the most influential figures in my own theological development: Richard B. Hays. I reviewed his recent book, Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels, a few months back. He kindly agreed to an interview, within which we discuss his approach to the figural reading of Scripture and several other matters.
Should Christians advance figural readings of the OT beyond those explicitly set forth in the NT? I would say yes, for two reasons. First, in the last chapter of Luke’s Gospel, in conversation with the despondent disciples on the road to Emmaus, the risen Jesus himself “interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures” (Luke 24:27). This extraordinary (and tantalizing!) narrative suggests that the OT contains far more latent Christological material than can be delineated within the bounds of Luke’s narrative, or in the relatively concise pages of the NT. (For a lovely illustration of a Christological reading of the story of Joseph, see Gary Anderson, “Joseph and the Passion of Our Lord,” in E. F. Davis and R. B. Hays, eds., The Art of Reading Scripture.)
The second reason why fresh figural reading can be welcomed is found in the Gospel of John, where Jesus promises that the Spirit of truth will come to the community of Jesus’s followers after his bodily departure and continue to lead them into deeper understandings of the things about Jesus (John 16:12–15). The caveat, of course, is that fresh figural readings must demonstrate consistency and theological coherence with the readings already exemplified in the NT.
Read the whole thing here.