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March 01, 2005



Andy - what's your understanding of "multipled complex senses ....and some come into focus only retrospectively"?

andy goodliff

Good question. You can hear Hays spell out his theory by hearing the actual lecture given in New Zealand The 2004 Burns Lectures (the username is "theology", password "hays" - not sure if that is meant to be public!). He gives the example of when Matthew uses the words 'out of Egypt I have called you' (matt 2:15) from Hosea (11:1), who in turn is referring to the story of the Exodus - Hosea is using it to mean a new exodus is happening, and matthew is writing a new layer of meaning, by reinterpreting it with Jesus. Of course Hosea didn't have in mind Jesus, but the text is open to introduce Jesus and so link the whole story together from Exodus, Israel to Jesus - we can do this only retrospectively. I think Hays is saying, that something for example like the theme of Exodus plays out throughout the whole biblical narrative. He says: there is an 'extension of meaning from the exodus story into another book of Israel's scripture, through to Jesus in the gospels and on into the life of the church'. Hays is very into hearing the Old Testament in the New Testament and seeing the links between both - the OT needs the NT to finish the story, the NT needs the OT to understand what is happening and this is all given by God. Not sure if that all makes sense.


I found that a very sympathetic analysis - but then I do tend to approach religious text from the point of view of a painter, so maybe I would say so. The stories are incredibley imaginative, and have so much continuous scope for finding our own story in the light of enagement...


Andy - thanks for answering my question, it makes sence now! Cheers.

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