Brueggemann, Walter (A.) 1933–

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BRUEGGEMANN, Walter (A.) 1933–

PERSONAL: Born March 11, 1933, in Tilden, NE. Education: Elmhurst College, graduate; Union Theological Seminary, doctorate in divinity; St. Louis University, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES: Office—Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA 30031. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Biblical scholar, educator, and author. Eden Theological Seminary, faculty member, beginning 1961, professor of Old Testament, beginning 1968. Elmhurst College, academic dean, 1976; Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA, William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament.

AWARDS, HONORS: Rockefeller Foundation fellow, 1961–63.

WRITINGS:

Peace, c. 1975, new edition, Chalice Press (St. Louis, MO), 2001.

The Bible Makes Sense, St. Mary's College Press, 1977.

God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality, Fortress Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1978.

The Prophetic Imagination, 1978, revised edition, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.

Israel in Exile: A Theological Interpretation, Fortress Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1979.

Living toward a Vision: Biblical Reflections on Shalom, revised edition, Pilgrim Press (Long Island City, NY), 1982.

The Creative Word: Canon as a Model for Biblical Education, Fortress Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1982.

Kings 1, John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 1983.

Revelation and Violence: A Study in Contextualization, Marquette University Press (Milwaukee, WI), 1986.

(With Sharon Parks and Thomas H. Groome) To Act Justly, Love Tenderly, Walk Humbly: An Agenda for Ministers, Paulist Press (New York, NY), 1986.

Hopeful Imagination: Prophetic Voices in Exile, Fortress Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1986.

Hope within History, John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 1987.

Israel's Praise: Doxology against Idolatry and Ideology, Fortress Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1988.

To Pluck up, to Tear Down: A Commentary on the Book of Jeremiah, 1-25, Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 1988.

Finally Comes the Poet: Daring Speech for Proclamation, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1989.

(Author of commentary) First and Second Samuel, John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 1990.

Power, Providence, and Personality: Biblical Insight into Life and Ministry, Westminster/John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 1990.

Abiding Astonishment: Psalms, Modernity, and the Making of History, Westminster/John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 1991.

Interpretation and Obedience: From Faithful Reading to Faithful Living, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1991.

To Build, to Plant: A Commentary on Jeremiah 26-52, Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 1991.

Old Testament Theology: Essays on Structure, Theme, and Text, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1992.

Using God's Resources Wisely: Isaiah and Urban Possibility, Westminster/John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 1993.

Biblical Perspectives on Evangelism: Living in a Three-Storied Universe, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN), 1993.

Texts under Negotiation: The Bible and Postmodern Imagination, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1993.

Texts for Preaching: A Lectionary Commentary, Based on the NRSV, three volumes, Westminster/John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 1993–95.

A Social Reading of the Old Testament: Prophetic Approaches to Israel's Communal Life, edited by Patrick D. Miller, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1994.

The Psalms and the Life of Faith, edited by Patrick D. Miller, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1995.

The Threat of Life: Sermons on Pain, Power, and Weakness, edited by Charles L. Campbell, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1996.

Cadences of Home: Preaching among Exiles, Westminster/John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 1997.

Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1997.

A Commentary on Jeremiah: Exile and Homecoming, Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 1998.

(Editor with George Stroup) Many Voices, One God: Being Faithful in a Pluralistic World, Westminster/John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 1998.

Isaiah, Westminster/John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 1998.

The Covenanted Self: Explorations in Law and Covenant, edited by Patrick D. Miller, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1999.

Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope: Contested Truth in a Post-Christian World, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2000.

First and Second Kings, Smith & Helwys (Macon, GA), 2000.

Texts That Linger, Words That Explode: Listening to Prophetic Voices, edited by Patrick D. Miller, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2000.

Deuteronomy, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN), 2001.

Ichabod toward Home: The Journey of God's Glory, Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 2001.

Testimony to Otherwise: The Witness of Elijah and Elisha, Chalice Press (St. Louis, MO), 2001.

(With William C. Placher and Brian K. Blount) Struggling with Scripture, Westminster/John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 2001.

(Editor) Hope for the World: Mission in a Global Context, Westminster/John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 2001.

Reverberations of Faith: A Theological Handbook of Old Testament Themes, Westminster/John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 2002.

Spirituality of the Psalms, edited by Patrick D. Miller, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

Also author of Cadences at Home: On the Art of Preaching and Genesis. Contributor of hundreds of articles to periodicals.

SIDELIGHTS: Walter Brueggemann writes prolifically on biblical and theological topics. Theological Studies writer Dianne Bergant called him "a consummate scholar, attentive not only to critical exegesis but also to the issues that face the contemporary preacher or minister." Among his early works are Peace, first published in the 1970s and revised in 2001. This book examines the meanings and concepts of "shalom," the Hebrew word for peace, and views the word in relation to contemporary concerns for justice. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted Brueggemann's occasional "memorable or poetic turn of phrase" in the book, and called Peace an example of what the author "does best: squeezing the Bible to produce hardworking theology for the church."

Brueggemann's 1998 publication, Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy, was assessed by several reviewers. The author's "hermeneutical starting point is that the Old Testament witnesses to God through speech, rather than through thought, concept, or ideas," explained Thomas Dozeman in a Journal of Religion review. "In fact he concludes that God only lives 'under the rhetorical enterprise of this text. Dialogue, imagination, and dialectical tension are the 'grammar of faith' in the rhetoric of the Old Testament, revealing the character of God 'in the fray.'" As a result, Dozeman continued, "testimony about God is the preferred mode of knowledge." The reviewer found that Theology of the Old Testament "raises many provocative questions," including one that concerns the historical criticism that "plays primarily a negative role in the book." According to Brueggemann, wrote Dozeman, historical criticism is "too objective, one dimensional, linear, monolithic, obsessed with the world behind the text, and ultimately, hegemonic in support of a privileged elite. All of these excesses are true. But the rise of historical criticism is certainly more complex, requiring a more nuanced assessment of its positive and negative impact on Old Testament theology." "Some will charge Brueggemann with conceding or asserting too much," Ben Ollenburger noted in Interpretation, "others with being too modest—too resolutely Christian in his interpretation, or insufficiently so." Ollenburger ultimately decided that Theology of the Old Testament "will provoke much discussion, not least because it engages contemporary issues—social, hermeneutical, and theological—with verve."

Obedience and law are the topics of Interpretation and Obedience: From Faithful Reading to Faithful Livingand The Covenanted Self: Explorations in Law and Covenant. In the former, as well as in the volume Abiding Astonishment: Psalms, Modernity, and the Making of History, Brueggemann "brings the reader into conversation with a delightful array of material not limited by the boundaries of academic specialization," according to Interpretation reviewer Richard Nysse. The critic pointed to the opening essay in Interpretation and Obedience, which brings together the views of Sigmund Freud, Isak Dinesen, Robert Lifton, and others. To Nysse, Brueggemann presents "a model for working faithfully as readers and doers"; his essays "are not intended to provide a methodological road map."

The Covenanted Self begins with a discussion of the relationship between the individual and God, stressing not the legalistic meaning to this bond, but instead the "kind of delight whereby friendship ripens into love, and obligation is the chance to please and delight the other," as Brueggemann wrote. "Scholars may be disturbed by some of Brueggemann's assumptions," commented Beth Laneel Tanner in Interpretation, adding that the author sees in contemporary Israel's centralized structure "equivalent to the oppressive structures in the modern world."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Brueggemann, Walter, The Covenanted Self: Explorations in Law and Covenant, edited by Patrick D. Miller, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1999.

God in the Fray: A Tribute to Walter Brueggemann, edited by Tod Linafelt and Timothy K. Beal, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1998.

PERIODICALS

America, April 8, 1995, Daniel Harrington, review of A Social Reading of the Old Testament: Prophetic Approaches to Israel's Communal Life, p. 558; March 11, 2000, review of Isaiah, p. 21.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly, July, 1991, Claude Mariottini, review of To Pluck up, to Tear Down: A Commentary on the Book of Jeremiah, 1-25, p. 460; January, 1992, Robert Gnuse, review of First and Second Samuel, p. 106; October, 1992, Michael Moore, review of Abiding Astonishment: Psalms, Modernity, and the Making of History, p. 740, Kenneth Craig, Jr., review of Power, Providence, and Personality: Biblical Insights into Life and Ministry, p. 741; October, 1998, Irene Nowell, review of Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy, p. 718.

Christian Century, April 8, 1987, Donald Wells, review of To Act Justly, Love Tenderly, Walk Humbly: An Agenda for Ministers, p. 338; December 14, 1988, Ronald Goetz, review of Israel's Praise: Doxology against Idolatry and Ideology, p. 1155; October 2, 1991, Philip Blackwell, review of Interpretation and Obedience: From Faithful Reading to Faithful Living, p. 890; April 9, 1997, Michael Spangler, review of The Threat of Life: Sermons on Pain, Power, and Weakness, p. 371; June 1, 2001, Thomas Walker, review of First and Second Kings, p. 31.

Christianity Today, April 25, 1994, Robert Yarbrough, review of Texts under Negotiation: The Bible and Postmodern Imagination, p. 52.

Interpretation, January, 1990, A. Joseph Everson, review of To Pluck up, to Tear Down, p. 85; April, 1990, William Young, review of Israel's Praise, p. 200; January, 1991, Richard Boyce, review of Finally Comes the Poet: Daring Speech for Proclamation, p. 73; April, 1992, Murray Newman, review of Power, Providence, and Personality, p. 208; January, 1993, Richard Nysse, review of Interpretation and Obedience and Abiding Astonishment, p. 66; April, 1994, Elmer Martens, review of Old Testament Theology: Essays on Structure, Theme, and Text, p. 191; April, 1995, Thomas Dozeman, review of Texts under Negotiation, p. 202; January, 1998, Charles Aaron, review of The Threat of Life, p. 110; January, 1999, Ben Ollenburger, review of Theology of the Old Testament, p. 71; October, 1999, Claire Mathews McGinnis, review of Isaiah, p. 422; October, 2000, Beth Laneel Tanner, review of The Covenanted Self: Explorations in Law and Covenant, p. 432; January, 2002, Walter Harrelson, review of First and Second Kings, p. 84.

Journal of Church and State, summer, 1991, James Flanagan, review of Power, Providence, and Personality, pp. 626-627.

Journal of Religion, July, 1999, Thomas Dozeman, review of Theology of the Old Testament, p. 484.

Journal of the American Academy of Religion, June, 1999, Paul Hanson, review of Theology of the Old Testament, p. 447.

Journal of Theological Studies, April, 2000, Ronald Clements, review of Theology of the Old Testament, p. 178; October, 2001, R. J. Coggins, review of Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope: Contested Truth in a Post-Christian World, p. 1009.

Library Journal, October 1, 1986, Elise Chase, review of Hope within History, p. 103; April 1, 1991, Carolyn Craft, review of Interpretation and Obedience, p. 125; January, 1992, Craft, review of To Build, to Plant: A Commentary on Jeremiah 26-52, p. 139; March 1, 2002, Graham Christian, review of Ichabod toward Home: The Journey of God's Glory, p. 108.

Other Side, November-December, 2001, review of Peace, p. 12.

Publishers Weekly, May 14, 2001, review of Peace, p. 74.

Scottish Journal of Theology, May, 1999, Stephen Dawes, review of review of To Pluck up, to Tear Down, p. 107; spring, 2000, Brevard Childs, review of Theology of the Old Testament, p. 228.

Sojourners, November, 1999, review of Isaiah, p. 53; May, 2001, Jim Wallis, review of Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope, p. 51.

Theological Studies, September, 1989, Alan Mitchell, review of Israel's Praise, p. 611; June, 1991, John Endres, review of First and Second Samuel, p. 349; December, 1998, Richard J. Sklba, review of Theology of the Old Testament, p. 720; June, 2001, Dianne Bergant, review of Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope, p. 420.

Theology, March-April, 1997, Gillian Cooper, review of The Psalms and the Life of Faith, p. 135; September-October, 1998, Robert Carroll, review of A Commentary on Jeremiah: Exile and Homecoming, p. 371; March-April, 2000, Walter Moberly, review of The Covented Self, p. 127.

Theology Today, January, 1989, Terence Fretheim, review of Israel's Praise, p. 506; July, 1990, Donald Gowan, review of Finally Comes the Poet, p. 226; April, 1991, Deborah Klee Dees, review of First and Second Samuel, p. 108, J. Gerald Janzen, review of Power, Providence, and Personality, p. 114; January, 1992, Mark Hillmer, review of Abiding Astonishment, p. 501; July, 1994, Deborah Klee, review of Old Testament Theology, p. 334, Robert Kysar, review of Texts for Preaching: A Lectionary Commentary, Based on the NRSV, p. 338; January, 1996, Arthur Van Seters, review of A Social Reading of the Old Testament: Prophetic Approaches to Israel's Communal Life, p. 558; July, 1998, Erhard Gerstenberger, review of Theology of the Old Testament, p. 266.

Tikkun, November, 2000, review of Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope, p. 89.

Times Higher Education Supplement, February 18, 1994, Alan David, review of Texts under Negotiation: The Bible and Postmodern Imagination, p. 28.

ONLINE

Review of Biblical Literature Online, http://www.bookreviews.org/ (June 12, 2002), Dale Patrick, review of A Commentary on Jeremiah: Exile and Homecoming.