The Covenanted Self: Explorations in Law and Covenant

The Covenanted Self: Explorations in Law and Covenant

The Covenanted Self: Explorations in Law and Covenant

The Covenanted Self: Explorations in Law and Covenant

Synopsis

These exciting studies on the first five books of the Bible cover a wide range of topics, challenging the reader to confront the issues of faithfulness, responsibility, and justice in an ever-changing world. Brueggemann sets the issues of praise and lament, grace and duty, truth and power in new frames of reference that call for a response. He demonstrates that the Christian reader of the Bible cannot blithely pass over the Pentateuch as simply pre-Christian and without relevance. His creative use of metaphor and imagination invite the reader to encounter freshly in these biblical texts God's call and the work of justice.

Excerpt

It is one thing to be prolific and another thing to be profound. Few of us in the theological enterprise accomplish both things as well as Walter Brueggemann. This, the fifth volume of his collected essays, comes forth not long after the appearance of his magnum opus, Theology of the Old Testament. Together they provide two of the three modes of Brueggemann’s theological communication: sharp provocative essays both academic and ecclesial, major works on biblical topics and biblical theology, and commentaries. in all of his work, Brueggemann is wedded to careful investigation of texts, using all the critical tools available in the scholarly study of Scripture. He is first and foremost an exegete, but there is nothing ordinary about that enterprise as he crafts it, nothing “academic” about it except the expertise that goes into his interpretive work. He exemplifies what most of us in biblical studies seek to do and to teach: a deep reading of texts that brings their meaning to the surface and articulates their significance and their claims. What one hears seems to be both thoroughly there in the text and thoroughly confrontive of human existence. Even the most academic of his essays, those that appear in what we are accustomed to call “field journals,” open up the text so that the reader is drawn into a sense of it as Scripture, as making claims and eliciting responses. This does not mean that no one disagrees with his results. That goes without saying, especially when the interpretation is as constantly challenging and demanding as Brueggemann’s. But few go away unaffected by what they have read or heard.

One of the features of Brueggemann’s work that is evident in a number of the essays in this volume is his continuing engagement with currents of contemporary life and thought. He is willing to risk the accusation of faddism in order to be sure that the resonance of Scripture with those currents is uncovered and articulated. Some of these modes of thought have engaged him over a long period of time. Thus one will find in these essays, as in others written some time ago, a conversation with object relations theory and indications that that theory about how relationship and the capacity for relationship develops in the growth of the human has much in common with insights from Scripture. When an Old Testament theologian places D. W. Winnicott in a conversation with Moses and the Apostle Paul, as Brueggemann does in an informal way in the first two essays in this volume, the horizons of the reader are significantly stretched and the wholeness of truth and knowledge is attested in unexpected ways. One does not expect a biblical theologian to know or care about such matters, but Brueggemann . . .

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