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The Book That Breathes New Life

Scriptural Authority and Biblical Theology

By Walter Brueggemann

Publication Year: 2011

The purpose of this collection of Brueggemann's essays is to bring to the fore a much more extensive critical engagement on his part with the current discussion about the Old Testament, its character, its authority, its theology, and especially its God.... Readers of these essays who think they may have grasped what Brueggemann has to say about the theology of the Old Testament from reading his magnum opus will find that he is still thinking, still listening, and still helping us understand the scriptures of Israel and the church at an ever deeper level.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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Editor’s Foreword

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pp. ix-xii

No person on the North American scene has contributed as much to the enterprise of Old Testament theology as has Walter Brueggemann. That is indicated foremost, of course, in his monumental work Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy, surely the most creative and original theology of the Old Testament ...

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pp. xiii-xviii

The matter of biblical authority is ancient, endlessly vexed, and of immense importance in the church. The long history of interpretation is filled with the problematic of scripture, with ample evidence of skewed interpretation and imposed, interested readings, with here and there a glimpse of genuine, disciplined, and responsive listening. ...

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pp. xix-xx

A book that consists in extant, older materials requires an important team effort. I am glad to thank Patrick D. Miller for his sustained editorial oversight of the volume, Hal Rast to seeing it through to publication, Tia Foley for bringing it all together in a credible way, and Davis Hankins for a lot of work including preparation of indices. ...

I. Biblical Authority

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1. Biblical Authority in the Postcritical Period

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pp. 3-19

Each generation of believers and scholars must answer its own particular form of the question of the authority of scripture, for the question is posed differently for different communities in different intellectual and cultural circumstances. The Jewish and Christian religious communities have characteristically accepted the scriptures as revelatory, ...

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2. Biblical Authority: A Personal Reflection

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pp. 20-36

The issue of the authority of the Bible is a perennial and urgent one for those of us who claim and intend to stake our lives on its attestation. But for all of the perennial and urgent qualities of the question, the issue of biblical authority is bound, in any case, to remain endlessly unsettled and therefore, I believe, perpetually disputatious. ...

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3. Biblical Authority and the Church’s Task of Interpretation

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pp. 37-46

The matter of the authority of scripture is normatively settled in the church, and at the same time endlessly problematic. It is normatively settled because we are agreed that the Bible is indeed God’s live word which addresses us as the only rule for life and faith. ...

II. Old Testament Theology in the Twentieth Century

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4. Twentieth-Century Old Testament Studies: A Quick Survey

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pp. 49-59

The contours of Western cultural history through the twentieth century are in large sweep identifiable: an initial moment of innocence until 1914, the willful barbarism of the two wars (1914–1945), the long tense stand-off of the cold war (1945–1989), and a final decade of localism in the presence of “the last superpower” (1989–2000). ...

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5. Biblical Faith as Narrative, Recital, Confession: An Introduction to von Rad’s Old Testament Theology

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pp. 60-82

The reissue of Gerhard von Rad’s Old Testament Theology is a most welcome event, as welcome as it is important to us. It is clear that von Rad (1901–1971), long-time professor in the University of Heidelberg, is the defining and preeminent interpreter of the Christian Old Testament in the twentieth century, ...

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6. The Loss and Recovery of Creation in Old Testament Theology

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pp. 83-96

There is no doubt that Old Testament theology, like every critical discipline, is organized around major, shaping models of interpretation.1 And there is no doubt that such major, shaping models arise out of and in response to the social-political-cultural context in which scholarship is undertaken. ...

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7. The ABCs of Old Testament Theology in the United States

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pp. 97-116

The developments of the last fifty years have brought us to a quite new place in Old Testament theology. Here I will reflect on these developments in the United States. I believe at the same time, mutatis mutandis, however, that U.S. developments are typical and representative. ...

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8. Contemporary Old Testament Theology: A Contextual Prospectus

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pp. 117-130

I wish to reflect upon recent developments in Old Testament theology in context at the end of the century, of course paying some attention to my own efforts at the project. Old Testament theology is, in principle, problematic because the text itself is not intentionally “theological” in any recognizable or conventional sense, ...

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9. Biblical Theology Appropriately Postmodern

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pp. 131-140

Such a disclaimer is representative of a quite new situation in scripture interpretation, which reflects what may be conveniently termed a “postmodern” context.”2 By that I mean simply the loss of hegemonic privilege among Christian interpreters or, alternatively, among the “ruling class” of critical scholars. ...

III. A Conversation with Other Theologians

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10. Theology of the Old Testament: A Prompt Retrospect

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pp. 143-155

No one can doubt that theological interpretation of the Bible—most especially in the context of a Christian reading—is in a quite new, quite different, and quite demanding interpretive situation. It does not matter to me if that new circumstance is termed “postmodern,” though I have used that term to describe it. ...

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11. Israel’s Creation Faith: Response to J. Richard Middleton

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pp. 156-164

I am grateful to Richard Middleton for having commented upon my work with such care, precision, and generosity. On every point that matters for Middleton’s analysis, he has understood me correctly and reported fairly. On the whole I must accept the critique he makes of my work. ...

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12. Against the Stream: Brevard Childs’s Biblical Theology

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pp. 165-170

Since 1970, when he published Biblical Theology in Crisis, Brevard Childs has authored a series of important books, swimming upstream against the interpretive consensus of critical scripture studies. He has been preoccupied with the canonical shape of the text, though in his several books, he has approached canonical matters from a variety of directions. ...

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13. Walter Brueggemann’s Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy: A Review by Brevard Childs and a Response

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pp. 171-180

When Walter Brueggemann wrote his Theology of the Old Testament,1 he was very much aware that the field appears to be stalled in an impasse. No recent volume comparable in influence to Walther Eichrodt’s in the 1930s or Gerhard von Rad’s in the 1950s has appeared. ...


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pp. 181-182


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pp. 183-222

Index of Names

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pp. 223-226

Index of Biblical References

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pp. 227-228

E-ISBN-13: 9781451419559
E-ISBN-10: 1451419554
Print-ISBN-13: 9780800698300
Print-ISBN-10: 0800698304

Page Count: 252
Publication Year: 2011