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The Conversion of the Imagination: Paul as Interpreter of Israel’s Scripture

, 2005
ISBN: 9780802812629
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The Conversion of the Imagination contains some of the best work on Paul by first-rate New Testament scholar Richard B. Hays. These essays probe Paul’s approach to scriptural interpretation, showing how Paul’s reading of the Hebrew Scriptures reshaped the theological vision of his churches. Hays’ analysis of intertextual echoes in Paul’s letters has touched off exciting debate among Pauline scholars and made the contours of Paul’s thought more recognizable. These studies contain some of the early work leading up to Hays’ seminal Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul. They also show how Hays has responded to critics and further developed his thought in the years since. Among the many subjects covered here are Paul’s christological application of Psalms, Paul’s revisionary interpretation of the Law, and the influence of the Old Testament on Paul’s ethical teachings and ecclesiology.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

If you like this resource be sure to check out Eerdmans Pauline Studies Collection (15 vols.).

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Top Highlights

“Thus, Paul subtly pictures the conversion of Gentile unbelievers through the prophetic activity of Corinthian Christians as a fulfillment of Isaiah’s eschatological vision: the Gentiles will recognize the presence of God in the midst of God’s people.” (Page 3)

“I contend that Paul’s pastoral strategy for reshaping the consciousness of his pagan converts was to narrate them into Israel’s story through metaphorical appropriation of Scripture—and precisely by so doing to teach them to think apocalyptically.” (Page xi)

“In contrast to the demythologizing hermeneutic, Paul celebrated Scripture’s witness to the real and radical apocalyptic action of God in the world; in contrast to the literalist hermeneutic, Paul engaged Scripture with great imaginative freedom, without the characteristic modernist anxiety about factuality and authorial intention.” (Page ix)

“b. ‘Volume’ also depends, however, on the distinctiveness, prominence, or popular familiarity of the precursor text” (Page 36)

“a. The primary factor is the degree of verbatim repetition of words and syntactical patterns.” (Page 35)

  • Title: The Conversion of the Imagination: Paul as Interpreter of Israel’s Scripture
  • Author: Richard B. Hays
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Print Publication Date: 2005
  • Logos Release Date: 2014
  • Pages: 233
  • Era: era:Contemporary
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Bible. N.T. Epistles of Paul › Relation to the Old Testament; Bible. O.T. › Relation to the Epistles of Paul; Bible. O.T. › Quotations in the New Testament; Bible. O.T. › Criticism, interpretation, etc.--History--Early church, ca. 30-600; Bible. N.T. Epistles of Paul › Criticism, interpretation, etc
  • ISBNs: 9780802812629, 0802812627
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-29T22:53:44Z

Richard B. Hays (born May 4, 1948) is Dean and George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. His service as dean is for an intentional interim period while a national search is conducted. Hays received his B. A in English literature from Yale College and Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and a Ph. D from Emory University.


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  1. Erich Javier Astudillo Acevedo
    As a non-academic reader, this book is really interesting in the invitation it makes: “Think the bible narratively and discover in the history the will of God”. Developing the example of how Paul, for example, invited its church to see themselves in the example of their “fathers in the desert” (1 Cor 10) to solve problems, or how “the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets” (Ro 3:21) as the proper hermeneutic to understand the scriptures the author lays down a good case for going for a biblical theology that connects and brings to life scripture. The book ends with a fitting invitation that expresses well the content: “In Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure the self-righteous villain Angelo pronounces a death sentence on Claudio, who is guilty of committing fornication. Claudio’s sister Isabella comes to Angelo to plead for the life of her brother, but Angelo, who is trying to manipulate Isabella into bed with him, spurns her suit, saying, Your brother is a forfeit of the law, And you but waste your words. Isabella’s reply alludes to the great theme of Romans and calls upon the hypocritical judge Angelo to see his life anew in light of God’s judgment and grace: Why, all the souls that were were forfeit once; And He that might the vantage best have took Found out the remedy. How would you be If He, which is the top of judgment, should But judge you as you are? O, think on that; And mercy then will breathe within your lips, Like man new made. Isabella resists the oppressor by applying a hermeneutic of suspicion to his pose of righteousness and by appealing to a hermeneutic of trust in the biblical story of God’s mercy. Isabella is a profound interpreter of Scripture. We should follow her example.”


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