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These studies on a variety of biblical texts focus deftly on reading, listening to, and proclaiming the gospel in a broken, fragmented, and "post-Christendom" world. Brueggemann explores how these traditions have the potential to continually resonate in our contemporary communities and individual lives.
From the Preface (pre-publication version):
It strikes me as odd that after long years of teaching the Bible I should now accent "a turn to the text." Especially since I have from the outset of my teaching responsibilities turned to the text, not only out of professional obligation, but also out of deep conviction. Given those many years of such a "turn," it strikes me acutely that the church in U.S. society must indeed "turn to the text," especially after mainline churches have expressly made a "turn to the subject." George Lindbeck in his influential book of 1984, The Nature of Doctrine, with his accent on "cultural-linguistic" urgings prepared the categories for such a turn. When undertaken from an exegetical rather than from a doctrinal perspective, however, turning the turn to the text is much more concrete and text-specific than Lindbeck's program; it is a perspective that pays attention to specific cadences, forms, nuances, and rhythms of the text. The essays offered here represent some of my recent thinking and work concerning the place and role of the biblical text in the faith and ministry of the church.
In my recent work, I have sought to be as deeply and consistently antifoudational as I am able to be. That, of course, means a resistance to any appeal to universal warrants beyond the specificities of the text. Such a perspective is closely congruent with Karl Barth's well-known phrasing, "The strange new world of the Bible." The turn to the text in contemporary church life is urgent, in my judgment, precisely because the humanness of our society from a faith perspective depends precisely upon this deep strangeness and this surprising newness that stand outside the narratives and ideologies that now govern most of our public life. It seems exactly correct to say that it is this "outsider" claims of the text that refuse accommodation or domestication that may make a difference among us, an outsider status that freshly situates the church in society. In these essays, with reference to preaching, to church polity, to economic life and much else, the text offers a fresh invitation to healthy life in the world.
Such a turn to the text means that the local congregation is an arena that pays attention to the text in all of its "thickness." This term, of course from Clifford Geertz, means that the text cannot be read at a glance, cannot be exhausted by critical methods, cannot be summed up in familiar content. The thickness requires many readings, many hearings, many interpretations, and many acts of faithful imagination, each of which may be received and heard as "a live word." To receive such a live word, the church and its interpreters must hear every nuance and go deep into memory. Such attentive remembering, however, is more than a recall of the past. It spills into the present as a neighborly ethic that contradicts selfish violence, and into the future as hope that contradicts despair. Our society is indeed increasingly thinned of memory, ethics, and hope. The biblical text offers a powerful alternative to that thinness, a thickness laden with courage, freedom, and energy.
It remains for me to thank yet again the special people who have turned my turning into a book. At Fortress Press, this is especially K. C. Hanson and Ann Delgehausen. Beyond this, Patrick Miller has invested his good judgment on my behalf and has offered welcome guidance to me in the formation of the volume. Tim Simpson has used his great care yet again in preparing indexes, and Tempie Alexander, to whom I turn as often as I turn to the text, has yet again worked her magic to transform humble offerings into workable articulation. The text has its own life; but my turning to it is in, with, and under these endlessly grace-filled people in my life. These people, especially Patrick Miller, Tim Simpson, and Tempie Alexander, have come to betoken for me the great host of people who evoke my work and engage with it, to whom I am endlessly thankful.
|1||Preaching as Sub-Version||1|
|2||Life-or-Death, De-Privileged Communication||19|
|3||Together in the Spirit - Beyond Seductive Quarrels||29|
|4||Reading as Wounded and as Haunted||41|
|5||Four Indispensable Conversations among Exiles||59|
|6||The Liturgy of Abundance, the Myth of Scarcity||69|
|7||Texts That Linger, Not Yet Overcome||77|
|8||Crisis-Evoked, Crisis-Resolving Speech||91|
|9||The Role of Old Testament Theology in Old Testament Interpretation||111|