THE INTERPRETATION OF PROPHETIC TEXTS IS ENDLESSLY CHALLENGING and problematic. It is unmistakably clear that these ancient texts continue to have compelling power for us. At the same time, the texts do not readily and easily lend themselves to any contemporary “application.” These several essays reflect my attempt to engage the prophetic texts, all the while being mindful of the endless challenge. These papers of course did not need to be republished in this form. I do so in the hope that they may be of some value as others grapple with the challenge, with the chance and temptation of contemporaneity. Continued focus on such ancient rootage is surely urgent among us given the deep places of old failure and new gifts that are everywhere evident among us.
I am glad to thank, yet again, the “usual suspects,” that make my work possible. That number includes Tim Simpson, who again helped transform these sundry pages into a book form; Patrick Miller who not only lends the book his support by way of a foreword, but also worked at selecting and ordering the pieces included; and a host of generous people at Fortress Press who have been endlessly supportive, in this case K. C. Hanson and long-term Michael West but also others at the press who make a difference to those of us who find our way to Fortress. Finally and always, Tempie Alexander manages projects like this one and the larger project of my working life with finesse and shrewdness matched by long-suffering patience. On all these counts I am deeply grateful.
Walter Brueggemann Epiphany 2000