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The Word that Redescribes the World

The Bible and Discipleship

By Walter Brueggemann

Publication Year: 2011

In the last several years, Walter Brueggemann's writings have directly addressed the situation of Christian communities in today's globalized context, with its consumerist lifestyles, vast inequalities, and near-imperial exercises of power. His insights, forged in rugged encounters with the texts of the Old Testament, are sharp, painful, and indispensable. In the People of Israel Brueggemann finds a model of an alternative community — anchored in YHWH, ever exploring new possibilities, and prophetically bent against empire.

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

The beginning point for this new collection of Walter Brueggemann’s essays is not new at all. It is where he always begins—with the text of Scripture. Few persons in our time have been more committed in theory and practice to the significance of the words of Scripture for faith and life, for our time and for all times. ...

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pp. xiii-xvi

To speak of “the Word that redescribes the world,” using language appropriated from Paul Ricoeur, is to call attention to the fact that the biblical text functions among us as a “second thought,” coming after the initial description of our life in the world according to the dominant metanarrative of our society. ...

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pp. xvii-xviii

I am indebted in this collection to many editors who have accepted my submission of articles and to many who invited me to speaking venues that evoked my many words. More specifically I am indebted to Tempie Alexander and now currently to Tia Foley, who shaped my probes into a manuscript. ...

I. The Word Redescribing the World

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1. A Text That Redescribes

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pp. 3-19

It is more or less a given, by convention if not by conviction, that one must have a biblical text for a sermon. Sometimes the text is more than that, utterly absolutized. Often it is a lot less than that, a text read but not taken seriously. The text is a given, nonetheless, in the churches of the Reformation. ...

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2. Proclamatory Confrontations

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pp. 20-44

In the discussion that follows, consideration will be given to the contested environment of preaching in the United States church where traditional patterns of homiletical authority no longer pertain, thus requiring an alternative perspective that is undertaken intuitively by knowing preachers. ...

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3. A Fresh Performance amid a Failed Script

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pp. 45-58

The present moment is a splendid opportunity for rethinking the task of education and socialization of our young in the church. The church has suffered for a long time from timidity and collusion with dominant values in our culture. ...

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4. Faith at the Nullpunkt

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pp. 59-72

Ancient Israel in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament is capable of thinking theologically about the future of the world and about the future destiny of individual persons.1 Its preferred and most characteristic mode of thought, however, is done through critical theological reflection about the community of Israel itself, ...

II. The Word Redefining the Possible

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5. The City in Biblical Perspective: Failed and Possible

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pp. 75-91

The city is not a primal or intentional theme in the Bible. It is an incidental theme that surfaces only as a byproduct of other issues. Moreover, it is not likely that what is said about any ancient city, concrete or anticipatory, is directly pertinent to our urban issues. ...

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6. Evangelism and Discipleship: The God Who Calls, The God Who Sends

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pp. 92-113

The God of the Gospel calls to praise and obedience. That is because, so we confess, that is the one true God who is the giver of all life, and who intends that all life should gladly be lived back to God. It is God’s rightful place to invite and expect such a turn back to God in joy and well-being. ...

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7. Options for Creatureliness: Consumer or Citizen

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pp. 114-137

A remarkable turn has happened in the theological interpretation of the Christian Old Testament. Through the first part of the twentieth century, theological interpretation was dominated by an accent upon “God’s Mighty Deeds in History,” together with an intentional disregard of the theme of “creation.”1 ...

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8. Ecumenism as the Shared Practice of a Peculiar Identity

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pp. 138-154

Classic ecumenism in the twentieth century has had to do with partnership and cooperation among established denominational traditions. These denominational groupings have tended to reflect centrist, mainline churches that, in their own particular spheres, exercised some theological hegemony. ...

III. The Word Shaping a Community of Discipleship

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9. Vision for a New Church and a New Century: Part I: Homework against Scarcity

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pp. 157-176

It remained, however, for Norman Gottwald, student of Muilenburg and sometime teacher at Union, to initiate the critical conversation concerning the socioeconomic, political dimensions of what Muilenburg had seen so well and said so eloquently. ...

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10. Vision for a New Church and a New Century: Part II: Holiness Becomes Generosity

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pp. 177-197

I have suggested that Jesus’ summons “Do not be anxious” (Luke 12:22) is an indispensable piece of homework for a sustainable economy of generosity and abundance. Without that homework in faith that commits to a conviction that there is enough, revolutionary or progressive economics has no chance. ...

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11. Patriotism for Citizens of the Penultimate Superpower

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pp. 198-211

The “patriotism” that concerns the preacher is not a generic, one-size-fits-all category. Patriotism is state specific, and so the theme of this chapter is the patriotism of the United States of America as concerns U.S. preachers. ...


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pp. 212-231


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pp. 213-228

Index of Names

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pp. 229-230

Index of Biblical References

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pp. 231-238

E-ISBN-13: 9781451419818
E-ISBN-10: 1451419813
Print-ISBN-13: 9780800698294
Print-ISBN-10: 0800698290

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2011