Richard Hays on Scripture and the Citation Formula in the Gospel of Matthew

Dear readers, I have been quietly squirrelling away at the page of Moltmann’s works in English, having almost finished what is to my knowledge a pretty complete list of books of Moltmann’s available in English, along with contents pages, which are often not available on the Internet. I have also included as many articles and chapters as I have been able to find published in English after 2002, the year of Wakefield’s reasonably comprehensive bibliography of Moltmann’s works. I have also added pieces that I have found written before 2002 that do not appear in Wakefield, such as the odd foreword, as well as a few that also appear in Wakefield. I have not gotten around to doing any much more than that at the moment, however, and I would recommend that those who have access to Wakefield would make use of him, or if not, then try convince your library to purchase it!

In my spare time I have begun reading Richard Hays’s Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels. I was struck by the size of his task in these introductory comments to the Gospel of Matthew, which has gotten me wondering just how I’m going to start looking at the role of Scripture in Moltmann’s theology (I have started, by the way, looking at the methodological presupposition that guides much of his exegesis, the distinction between Greek philosophical and Hebrew biblical thought). For now, here is Hays:

We must reckon with a Matthean hermeneutical program considerably more comprehensive than a collection of a dozen or so prooftexts…. There are at least sixty explicit Old Testament quotations in the Gospel. That means that the formula quotations constitute, even by the most generous estimate, only one-fifth of Matthew’s total. And that does not even begin to reckon with the hundreds of more indirect Old Testament allusions in the story.
Above and beyond the question of citations of particular texts, we must reckon also with Matthew’s use of figuration, his deft narration of ‘shadow stories from the Old Testament.’ Through this narrative device, with or without explicit citation, Matthew encourages the reader to see Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament precursors, particularly Moses, David, and Isaiah’s Servant figure. And at a level still deeper than these narrative figurations, Matthew’s language and imagery are from start to finish soaked in Scripture; he constantly presupposes the social and symbolic world rendered by the stories, songs, prophecies, laws, and wisdom teachings of Israel’s sacred texts.

Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2016), 109.

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