Reality, Grief, Hope: Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks

Reality, Grief, Hope: Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks

Reality, Grief, Hope: Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks

Reality, Grief, Hope: Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks


Walter Brueggemann is one of the most highly regarded Old Testament scholars of our time; talk-show host Krista Tippett has even called him "a kind of theological rock star." 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.


It is great pleasure to write this foreword for Walter Brueggemann’s new book, Reality, Grief, Hope: Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks. Walter is a dear friend and an esteemed colleague. Indeed, he has been a formative presence in my life for many years.

My first encounter with his work came in the late 1970s. in a graduate school seminar led by Herbert B. Huffmon, I read three of Walter’s earliest works, Tradition for Crisis: a Study in Hosea (John Knox, 1968), The Vitality of the Old Testament Traditions (with Hans Walter Wolff; John Knox, 1975), and the recently published The Prophetic Imagination (Fortress, 1978). These books made an enormous impression on me. in the first place, they were beautifully written and theologically penetrating. I was also captivated by their audacity to move beyond the historical perimeters of the text to the contemporary world. Reviewers recognized this quality as well. One, for instance, noted that Tradition for Crisis “relates the prophets to contemporary Christians,” and another recognized the convincing lines of argumentation “for a contemporary view of Hosea.” It was apparent from the start that Brueggemann’s close reading of the biblical text was neither neutral nor dispassionate, as the rubrics of the field demanded. Rather, his nuanced exposition was attentive to ecclesial realities — especially those related to pastoral ministry — and the larger society. Put differently, Brueggemann’s earliest writings already reflected . . .

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