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The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New Creation: A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethics

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,357 ratings  ·  67 reviews
A leading expert in New Testament ethics discovers in the biblical witness a unified ethical vision—centered in the themes of community, cross and new creation—that has profound relevance in today′s world. Richard Hays shows how the New Testament provides moral guidance on the most troubling ethical issues of our time, including violence, divorce, homosexuality and ...more
Paperback, 508 pages
Published January 1st 1900 by HarperOne
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Mar 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-purchase
While there have been many books abound on the New Testament's function as critique of Roman Imperialism, there are few books on the basic social ethics and implications of the New Testament. Richard B. Hays' Moral Vision of the New Testament serves as a solid, basic primer in New Testament social ethics, both on the interpersonal/community level, and the level of political critique. Hays attempts to translate the ethical models of the four Gospels, Revelations, Acts, and the Epistles into basic ...more
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This year, as white supremacists gained power under the implicit approval of the president and ICE increased its violent work of tearing apart immigrant families in our neighborhood, I began asking serious questions about violence in defense of justice.

When the state's mechanisms expand and enforce injustice, is democratic or anarchic violence the answer? As a Christian, my life is oriented around a deep desire for justice. How am I to pursue it?

Added to this deeply-felt ethical dilemma was a
Thomas Creedy
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Absolutely superb book - dipped back into it today to check something - first read cover to cover a while ago.
May 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A massive amazing look at the New Testament and how it relates to created a set of morals or ethics. In the first main section Hays tackles different books/authors to try and get some sort of consensus in the approach from them. In approaching in this manner there are some illuminating discoveries made from the different books which help us see similarities and differences in their respective approaches to handling ethics. After giving a thorough response to each he spends a chapter each on ...more
James Mace
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
The grand scope of this project requires at least 80% admiration. Among much else of greatness is brother Hays' faithful stand against the Sodomist agenda to destroy marriage by normalizing homosexuality. But I am sad that he is only too willing to distort Scripture in order to support his heretical views of Post-Auschwitical Correctness (an ideology arising since WW II that disallows disapproval of Judaism), his extremely questionable sectarian pacifism, and his inherited misinterpretation of ...more
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all
I have to admit – I was borrowing this book from the library and did not have time to read the entire thing. But the third of the book that I did read was fantastic. The Moral Vision of the New Testament looks at the different ways in which theologians in history have built moral frameworks out of the Biblical material, lays out Hays’s own framework for how he believes the Bible should direct morality, and then applies that framework to a number of major issues. Hays is very honest about what ...more
Daniel Seifert
The work of Richard Hayes, The Moral Vision of the New Testament: A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethics, covers much of the New Testament territory with an intention to guide readers in a critical, reflective conversation with others and to stimulate thought leading to imaginative conformity to the New Testament’s moral vision. From this repository of ethical teachings, ten have been extracted for the purpose of introducing a new believer to the Christian Way. Although this ...more
Sam McCabe
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to write a review for a book that is as all encompassing as this is, but I will try. One of the things that caught me early on was his attention to not only what each text said, but to what it didn't say as well. That was fascinating. His chapter covering Revelation was masterful. I found myself stirred once more during the chapter "violence in defense of justice". For me, the book is a marathon not a sprint so if you decide to read it (which you should), take the time to digest it's ...more
An amazing achievement. While I cannot concur with every detail, the clarity and care with which he approaches his task, and each part of the NT canon, and, finally, the application of his approach to specific issues... Wow. Most important, I believe, is his clear understanding and communication of the fact that for the early believers--in stark contrast with most of us today--the focus was not at all on the individual but on the community. The transformation of the community, not the ...more
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I have read most of this book now and am dying to finish it and move on to other things. But this book should be required reading for anyone who cares to open up their mouths to speak about what they think the bible means. Useful analysis of how one should approach reading the New Testament, yielding helpful principles such as knowing that different authors from different times see, understand and intend meaning differently. Great book read it.
Nov 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I give this book five stars because it gave me a coherent way to think about ethical issues biblically. Also it was the book that I finished reading, looked up and said to myself, "I think I'm a pacifist". It is a powerful book, very academic but never dry, and full of the passion of a man who desires to live his live in conformity to Jesus.
If anyone is interested in a more in depth review of this book please write me or comment on this review.
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A book to come back to again and again, Moral Vision presents compelling takes on so many of the books in the New Testament. Hays' readings of Mark, Revelation, John, Romans... all have shaped my reading of scripture in profound ways.
Kyle Dunn
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Careful, challenging exegesis of New Testament ethics

I liked the carefulness and humility that Richard Hays shows when interpreting the New testament. He doesn't flinch from it's challenging commands or problematic texts. He centers his interpretation of the New Testament around three focal images: Community, Cross, and New Creation. This framework is really helpful for thinking through the various implications of the New Testament. Hays shows how many significant ethical implications of the New
Tim Norman
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An insightful book that looks into how believers should approach contemporary ethical issues. Hays provides a thorough analysis of how the NT approaches ethics by looking separately several NT books. Hays synthesizes this information and suggests that we should consider three focal images when considering ethics: community, the cross, and the new creation. This leads to questions like, "How are we as the people of God today (community) supposed to represent God's work of redemption presently in ...more
Eric Parsons
It's a decent book, organization is okay, but what is problematic is that this is a NT ethics book that seems to carry heavy provenance on his own experience as a Vietnam War protester. That made much of the book harder to swallow. Further, the author haphazardly follows his own exegetical rules when they serve his purpose, ignoring them when they do not. There are better ethics books out there, try them first.
Terri Milstead
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: school-books
This was a fascinating read and one of very few school books that I will keep close at hand when doing exegesis from now on. I found so much in here that I want to share with my church, small groups, and other Christian friends. This book offers great insight to the texts as they stand on their own and in connection to each other on ethical matters AND challenges the church to live up to what they call us to be.
Andrew Myers
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Large parts of this book are easily 5 stars and full of insights. His emphasis upon the narrative shape of the NT ethics is badly needed along with the notion of a “symbolic world.” The final section applying his method though is quite a bit more uneven—still insightful in places but also setting down false tracks. Still, a book I will return to and think about often.
Laura Robinson
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Incredibly helpful launch point to New Testament ethics. You may not agree with all the answers he gives but instructive just to see how he gets there.
Justin Dewell
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book to stretch the reader's mind on hermeneutics. Hays' three lenses are the meat of this book and are great to engage with.
Jerry Hillyer
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'll write a longer review later.
Jim King
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: church
Cross, coming back and community
Jeremy Garber
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, bible
Richard B. Hays provides a stunningly researched, elegantly written, and largely convincing summary of how one might draw a consistent Christian ethics from the scope of the New Testament. Hays displays an intimate and extensive knowledge of the New Testament. His writing is clear and direct, and his arguments carefully laid out. He takes the world of the New Testament seriously and provides both a compelling framework for general ethical discernment, and precise reasoning for five current ...more
Mu-tien Chiou
May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Hays is good at detecting different themes and narrative motifs in different books of the NT. Taking the four gospels as example, Hays suggests that

Matthew presents Jesus as the great teacher on Christian moral principles, the perfecter of all laws; a final judgement from God the righteous judge is to be heed when we conduct ourselves in this present world. 時間觀:timelessness
Mark presents Jesus as the suffering servant who calls his followers to bear [harsh] suffering until the imminent
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My spouse is tired of hearing me rave in bed about Richard Hays' MVNT. But as I read page after page, chapter after chapter, I couldn't help myself. This is an excellently written, excellently constructed text.

I originally picked up MVNT for one chapter: chapter sixteen on an NT ethics for "homosexuality." My congregation is in the thick of the debate over what discipleship means for gay Christians (the sad and unjust irony being that nearly all those talking are straight folks). A pastor friend
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A stunning achievement by one of the best NT scholars of his generation (a man NT Wright called "a prince among exegetes"). This is among the most exhaustive studies in how we read the New Testament for the purpose of shaping our ethics and application of the text in the life of the Church and individual Christians. Hays presents a mode of reading and interpreting biblical texts which is faithful to the text and also useful for contemporary ethical issues. Hays' model of reading the NT through ...more
Steven McCarthy
Sep 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
What can I say? This is an impressively rich and sustained analysis of the moral vision of the New Testament. The strength of the book is the way in which it calls the church to derive its ethical decisions from the text of the New Testament. The model is generally helpful - reading, synthesis, hermeneutics, enactment. The threefold image of community, cross, and new creation is also very compelling. The weakness, in my view, is the author's conviction that the texts of the New Testament present ...more
Jacob McGill
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be very helpful in thinking about ethics. Hays is really good, clear writer. This book first lays forth a pattern of how Christians should do ethics, then does several case studies on popular ethical discussions of our day. His chapter on homosexuality is a must read. It is really a chapter on sexuality, and offers a much needed corrective on common evangelical thinking. He gives the conservatives what they want on homosexuality, but offers much more than they can give us. ...more
Eric Black
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Moral Vision of the New Testament is an important work worthy of study by pastors, teachers, and lay persons alike.

The book is divided into four parts. In Part One, Hays examines the writings of Paul and the gospels. In Part Two, he attempts to bring the various voices together using the three images of community, cross, and new creation, which become something of a hermeneutic lens. Part Three surveys a spectrum of Christian approaches to ethics. Part Four brings everything to bear on
Rick Lee Lee James
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Moral Vision of the New Testament looks at the different ways in which theologians in history have built frameworks of morality out of the Biblical material. The book lays out the authors' own framework for how he believes the Bible should direct morality. Hays then applies looks at a number of issues using his framework for New Testament morality. It's refreshing to see a writer deal with what the New Testament does and doesn’t say. There is a great deal,of integrity in the writing, not to ...more
Carly Kendrick
Oct 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
Hays's writing is dry at best. In attempts to compare and analyze the works of contemporary Christian ethicist, he looks at each of their works in regards to just war/pacifist theology through his lens of "Community, Cross, and New Creation." His biases are overt and unjustly brutal at times. He includes the works of Schüssler Fiorenza seemingly only because she is a woman. (His attempt at diversity to make his book more marketable is disgusting.) Rather than engaging with Schülsser Fiorenza's ...more
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Richard B. Hays, George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School, is internationally recognized for his work on the letters of Paul and on New Testament ethics. His scholarship has bridged the disciplines of biblical criticism and literary studies, exploring the innovative ways in which early Christian writers interpreted Israel's Scripture. His works include Echoes of ...more
“The gospel is not a summary of “the necessary truths of reason”; rather, it is a revelation that shatters and reshapes human reason in light of God’s foolishness. The Word is known in contingent human form, and only there. That is the scandal of the gospel.” 6 likes
“(Inevitably, someone raises the question about World War II: What if Christians had refused to fight against Hitler? My answer is a counterquestion: What if the Christians in Germany had emphatically refused to fight for Hitler, refused to carry out the murders in concentration camps?) The long history of Christian “just wars” has wrought suffering past all telling, and there is no end in sight. As Yoder has suggested, Niebuhr’s own insight about the “irony of history” ought to lead us to recognize the inadequacy of our reason to shape a world that tends toward justice through violence. Might it be that reason and sad experience could disabuse us of the hope that we can approximate God’s justice through killing? According to the guideline I have proposed, reason must be healed and taught by Scripture, and our experience must be transformed by the renewing of our minds in conformity with the mind of Christ. Only thus can our warring madness be overcome. This would mean, practically speaking, that Christians would have to relinquish positions of power and influence insofar as the exercise of such positions becomes incompatible with the teaching and example of Jesus. This might well mean, as Hauerwas has perceived, that the church would assume a peripheral status in our culture, which is deeply committed to the necessity and glory of violence. The task of the church then would be to tell an alternative story, to train disciples in the disciplines necessary to resist the seductions of violence, to offer an alternative home for those who will not worship the Beast. If the church is to be a Scripture-shaped community, it will find itself reshaped continually into a closer resemblance to the socially marginal status of Matthew’s nonviolent countercultural community. To articulate such a theological vision for the church at the end of the twentieth century may be indeed to take most seriously what experience is telling us: the secular polis has no tolerance for explicitly Christian witness and norms. It is increasingly the case in Western culture that Christians can participate in public governance only insofar as they suppress their explicitly Christian motivations. Paradoxically, the Christian community might have more impact upon the world if it were less concerned about appearing reasonable in the eyes of the world and more concerned about faithfully embodying the New Testament’s teaching against violence. Let it be said clearly, however, that the reasons for choosing Jesus’ way of peacemaking are not prudential. In calculable terms, this way is sheer folly. Why do we choose the way of nonviolent love of enemies? If our reasons for that choice are shaped by the New Testament, we are motivated not by the sheer horror of war, not by the desire for saving our own skins and the skins of our children (if we are trying to save our skins, pacifism is a very poor strategy), not by some general feeling of reverence for human life, not by the naive hope that all people are really nice and will be friendly if we are friendly first. No, if our reasons for choosing nonviolence are shaped by the New Testament witness, we act in simple obedience to the God who willed that his own Son should give himself up to death on a cross. We make this choice in the hope and anticipation that God’s love will finally prevail through the way of the cross, despite our inability to see how this is possible. That is the life of discipleship to which the New Testament repeatedly calls us. When the church as a community is faithful to that calling, it prefigures the peaceable kingdom of God in a world wracked by violence.” 5 likes
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