The figural reading approach of Richard Hays can be developed further in various ways through consideration of the Gospel of John. The narrative focus can be broadened to encompass other aspects of the analogical imagination. As all four Gospels, in Hays's reading, take up and transform Israel's Scriptures, so the Gospel of John can be read as taking up and transforming the Synoptic Gospels, with John learning from a culture of creative rewriting. John's own rewriting encourages readers to improvise in thought and action on what he writes. This “reading forwards” takes up what Hays calls “reading backwards” into the ongoing drama of following Jesus in the Spirit. John's temporality reaches beyond linearity by integrating the eternal life of God, and human participation in that, with the incarnate drama of learning and loving in history.

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