Brilliantly applies crucial biblical prophetic messages to our contemporary society
Walter Brueggemann is one of the most highly regarded Old Testament scholars of our time. In this new book Brueggemann incisively probes our society-in-crisis from the ground up.
Pointing out striking correlations between the catastrophe of 9/11 and the destruction of ancient Jerusalem, Brueggemann shows how the prophetic biblical response to that crisis was truth-telling in the face of ideology, grief in the face of denial, and hope in the face of despair. He argues that the same prophetic responses are urgently required from us now if we are to escape the deathliness of denial and despair.
Brueggemann's Reality, Grief, Hope boldly confronts the dominant forces of our time, taking on principalities and powers that vie for our souls, and calls the church to courageous action.
Walter Brueggemann is a legend. . . . With typical Brueggemann brilliance, here he brings the prophets of old into the contemporary world and dares us to look through their eyes. If you love Walter, you'll love this. If you've never heard of him, get ready to get hooked.
For many of us, Walter Brueggemann has been a mentor from afar. We have learned to read the Bible in fresh ways because of his scholarly insight, pastoral wisdom, and prophetic imagination. Reality, Grief, Hope takes us from the world of the Bible to the headlines of today, opening inconvenient but desperately needed truths. . . . If you've never read Brueggemann, here is your entry point. If you've been reading him for years, this one is not to be missed.
-Brian D. McLaren
Through a carefully nuanced analogy with the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.E., Brueggemann's Reality, Grief, Hope presents a passionate and timely exploration of the theological crises that have infected the U.S., particularly since the 9/11 attacks. . . . A splendid work of public theology!
-Gale A. Yee,
Episcopal Divinity School
It is one thing to call for a prophetic imagination; it is quite another matter to actually have a prophetic imagination. This book clearly shows Brueggemann to have the 'unrelenting realism' that possessed the imagination of the ancient prophets. . . . With steely-eyed observation he helps us see, amid the despair that has gripped American life since 2001, that there is hope - a hope grounded in the everyday work of the church. This is Brueggemann at his very best.
Duke Divinity School
Walter Brueggemann is widely appreciated as the most insightful and compelling interpreter of the Bible as it bears on current social and religious crises. Here he discerns how the arrogant American exceptionalism of `God's new Israel' has been powerfully informed by the biblical ideology of God's chosen people and the exceptionalism of the ancient Jerusalem elite. . . . Reality, Grief, Hope is timely, prophetic, and very well done.
University of Massachusetts, Boston
Brueggemann's connection of Israelite royal ideology with U.S. exceptionalism is provocative and courageous. His interweaving of modern poetry and political theory with Scripture texts powerfully amplifies the countercultural exhortation of the ancient prophets: covenantal faith must be lived in mutual relationship with the poor. Brueggemann calls communities gathered around Scripture to be catalytic in their dismantling of structures of social privilege, economic exploitation, and racism. This is a compelling and urgently needed book.
-Carolyn J. Sharp,
Yale Divinity School
Challenges the churches to a prophetic task in the face of the twin ills in American exceptionalism: complacency when things go well and self-centered despair when (as after 9/11) they go badly. Brueggemann shows how the witness of the Old Testament prophets can be a resource for faithful hope that does not rest on cynical self-concern. Calling for a wider vision of society and its possible futures than the imperialistic self-assertion of an elite, this book calls for inclusion and for justice.
Oriel College, Oxford
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