Respected author and theologian Walter Brueggemann turns his discerning eye to the most critical yet basic needs of a world adapting to a new era, an era defined in large part by America's efforts to rebuild from an age of terror even as it navigates its way through an economic collapse. Yet in spite of these great challenges, Brueggemann calls us to journey together to the common good through neighborliness, covenanting, and reconstruction. Such a concept may seem overwhelming, but writing with his usual theological acumen and social awareness Brueggemann distills this challenge to its most basic issues: where is the church going? What is its role in contemporary society? What lessons does it have to offer a world enmeshed in such turbulent times? The answer is the same answer God gave to the Israelites thousands of years ago: love your neighbor and work for the common good. Brueggemann considers biblical texts as examples of the journey now required of the faithful if they wish to move from isolation and distrust to a practice of neighborliness, as an invitation to a radical choice for life or for death, and as a reliable script for overcoming contemporary problems of loss and restoration in a failed urban economy.
|Publisher:||Westminster John Knox Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. He is the world's leading interpreter of the Old Testament, and is the author of numerous books, including Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination and Reverberations of Faith: A Theological Handbook of Old Testament Themes.
Table of Contents
1 The Journey to the Common Good: Faith, Anxiety, and the Practice of Neighborliness 1
2 The Continuing Subversion of Alternative Possibility: From Sinai to Current Covenanting 37
3 From Vision to Imperative: The Work of Reconstruction 73
Scripture Index 123
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I work at the City Mission Society in Boston, and I'm using this book in a course on Urban Ministry with seminary students. It represents exactly the kind of meditation on contemporary issues combined with a deep knowledge and understanding of the Bible that I am working to model for my students. Too often when people talk about social justice in the Bible, they limit themselves to a few verses: the Beatitudes, Micah, etc. Brueggemann shows how concern for social justice is woven through the entire Biblical enterprise. Both thought-provoking and a pleasure to read.
An interesting idea posited by a great Old Testament mind. Originally presented as a three-part lecture, this book feels like an idea unvetted by editors, at points, the author identifies it as "imaginative extrapolation." Brueggemann sees two competing narrative in Jewish scripture, that of empire (Pharaoh and Babylon) and that of the common good (Deuteronomy and the prophets). Brueggemann sees Pharaoh's paradigms of wealth, might, and wisdom (think national intelligence) as passed on even to some heroes within the biblical narrative, most notably Solomon whose power rested not on a neighborly common good but on wealth, might, wisdom and an enshrined priesthood who helped those in power retain their position. He sees within the biblical tradition an opposing thread promoting neighborliness characterized by grace, justice, and righteousness, calling true evangelical witness into the work Sabbath adherence and other godly practices that are antithetical to enshrined empires. His interpretative ideas/frameworks for Jeremiah and Isaiah are particularly interesting--even if you don't buy into the logic of the book. His ability to see the Gospel in the Old Testament while meeting its authors on their own very Jewish terms, is particularly helpful.As a whole, Brueggemann's idea isn't totally without merit, but it's clear that it isn't a fully formulated idea in this format. Each major section of the book has much content worthy of careful consideration, even if the logic connecting one section to the next doesn't feel fully formed. Even so, the book is an interesting read and a good exercise of discernment of biblical truths.