A Review of Richard B. Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament -- By: Douglas Moo

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 09:1 (NA 1999)
Article: A Review of Richard B. Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament
Author: Douglas Moo


A Review of Richard B. Hays,
The Moral Vision of the New Testament

Douglas J. Moo

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

One of the highlights of the 1997 IBR meeting in San Francisco was the Panel Discussion that centered on the theme “New Testament Foundations for Sexual Ethics.” The panel was chaired by Professor Catherine Kroeger and focused on Professor Richard B. Hays’s recent book, The Moral Vision of the New Testament—Community, Cross, New Creation: A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethics (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1996) ISBN 0-06-063796-X. Professors Douglas Moo and Judith GundryVolf presented reviews and Richard responded to both. The enthusiastic discussion that followed testified to the extent that the IBR membership appreciated and was stimulated by Hays’s book and the issues that it has raised. All three participants kindly agreed to supply the BBR with edited versions of their reviews and response, which appear in the following pages. It is hoped that more scholarly material generated in the IBR’s meetings will find its way into the pages of the Bulletin.

The Editor

Taking the advice of marriage experts, my wife and I have occasionally sat down together for a session of honest critique. She lists my strengths and weaknesses; I note hers. And when it’s all over, we solemnly swear never again to listen to a marriage expert. Why? Because no matter how much we try to affirm each other, what inevitably stands out in both of our minds is the negatives. What both of us consider to be a strong, wonderful marriage ends up sounding like a disaster headed for the divorce courts.

I worry that my critique of Richard Hays’s Moral Vision of the New Testament might result in a similar impression. If I am to do my job, I must mention weaknesses as well as strengths. Inevitably, I will end up spending more time on the weaknesses than the strengths—for disagreement requires explanation; agreement a simple statement of affirmation. But I want to do my best to head off any impression that

I consider Dr. Hays’s book a disaster. Quite the contrary: The Moral Vision of the New Testament is a very good book. It is certainly the best treatment of NT ethics to appear in a very long time. I agree with the vast majority of what Hays says in it. When my wife and I sit down together for our sessions of criticism, our intention is to strengthen an already excellent marriage. I hope you will view my response to Hays in a similar vein: an attempt to strengthen what is already an excellent pr...

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