The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New Creation:A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethics, by Richard B.Hays (Harper San Francisco, 508 pp.; $25, paper). Reviewed by Thomas E. Schmidt,a New Testament scholar and author of Straight and Narrow? Compassion and Clarity in the Homosexuality Debate (InterVarsity).

In The Moral Vision of the New Testament, Richard B. Hays demonstratesthat a passionate faith can be expressed in a scholarly treatise. Hays's manner is every bit as significant as his subject. Indeed, here may be asignal that evangelical scholarship has at last found its voice. For hereis a university professor who writes for the church, a first-rate exegete who suggests that the Holy Spirit must guide the interpretation of texts,a denizen of the ivory tower who maintains that believers must practice obediencein community to realize Scripture's moral vision.

Hays demonstrates all the academic competence that landed him a professorship at Duke, but in and through his scholarship he preaches (powerfully), he discusses the moral challenges of real people he knows, he concedes that some of his conclusions are tentative, he even—gasp—admits to personal moral struggles and shortcomings.

Such a readable, superbly organized, substantial volume will quickly become the standard seminary text for New Testament ethics, supplanting the widely used works by Rudolf Schnackenburg (The Moral Teaching of the NewTestament), Wolfgang Schrage (The Ethics of the New Testament),and others. That is good news, but it will be a shame if the book does not move far beyond the walls of the pastor's study into the hands of lay Christians who should take up its challenge.

The Moral Vision of the New Testament ...

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