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Divine Presence amid Violence: Contextualizing the Book of Joshua Paperback – February 11, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dr. Walter Brueggemann (Th.D., Union Theological Seminary, New York:; Ph.D., St. Louis University) is Professor Emeritus of Old Testament Theology and Interpretation at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA . His award-winning Theology of the Old Testament (Fortress Press, 1997) quickly became a foundational work in the field. The Association of Theological Booksellers presented Walter Brueggemann and Fortress Press with a Theologos Award for Best General Interest Book at a dinner in Brueggemann's honor, for the award-winning book, Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope: Contested Truth in a Post-Christian World. His recent publications include Mandate to Difference: An Invitation to the Contemporary Church, The Theology of the Book of Jeremiah, Like Fire in the Bones: Listening for the Prophetic Word in Jeremiah, and The Word That Redescribes the World: The Bible and Discipleship. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 93 pages
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Pub (February 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160608089X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606080894
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.2 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #239,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary. He is the world's leading interpreter of the Old Testament and is the author of numerous books, including Westminster John Knox Press best sellers such as Genesis and First and Second Samuel in the Interpretation series, An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination, and Reverberations of Faith: A Theological Handbook of Old Testament Themes.

Customer Reviews

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By N. HIGHLAND on June 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have always wrestled with the violence of Joshua, and how it contrasts with the non-violence of Jesus. I struggled with the question, "If God is revealed through Jesus, how can the non-violent Jesus be a reflection of the seemingly violent God in Joshua?"

In this short read, Walter Brueggemann addresses that very issue, and provides profound insight into the Old Testament understanding of Empire vs. God-shaped community. It reconciles the God of Joshua with the non-violent Jesus, and succinctly addresses the issue of judgment as presented in Joshua.

It is a book for the theologically-minded reader. It may be difficult for a person who is just beginning to study scripture, or just beginning to think through their faith critically. But to anyone who has asked difficult questions about violence in the Old Testament, this is a must-read. For me, it finally brought peace to a very difficult question.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Trev on June 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book had a lot of interesting content; particularly about current interpretive theory. However, the rest of the book seemed to be obsessed with issues of empire and war. Thoughts on this subject are warranted because Joshua is a very violent book about war, but it trumped everything in the book. Today's interpreters of Joshua are right to avoid throwing away their concerns, but Brueggemann glances over major issues that pertain to divine presence because of the focus on empire. Also, he seemed to stretch the idea that God only directed the Israelites to commit violence against the machines of war. I simply could not follow him down that road because of other points in the narrative where God intervenes in the violence to help the Israelites. I see his point about the importance of divine dialogue, but I think there are too many things at work within the narrative to secure his interpretation.

Divine presence is important and Brueggemann could have talked about God's presence in the Church in a way that would help today's readers deal with the violence, but that did not happen. Something that I liked about this book was that it did not try to say that Jews and Christians do not need to worry about the violence in Joshua because it is not historical. While that is a comforting thought, it does not excuse the fact that it is in our canon. The fact that it is in the canon means that we have to wrestle with its portrait of God. In this regard I commend Brueggemann for trying to find divine presence in the midst of violence.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Myers - Writing at TillHeComes on August 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brueggemann seeks to explain the violence of Joshua by stating that the instructions of God to the Israelites to wage war on the Canaanites was a one-time act, and not even really an act, but a warrant or permit for an oppressed community to rise up in their own defense. Brueggemann argues that God really didn't do anything in the war, and did not actually call the Israelites to wage war on the Canaanites, but only on the weapons and tools of oppression.

I think Brueggemann is headed in the right direction with his thesis, but has not followed his idea to it's logical conclusion. Nor did he state his thesis clearly enough. For these reasons, I am only giving it three stars. Also, the book is only 82 pages, and I have trouble paying this much for a book so short.
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Divine Presence amid Violence: Contextualizing the Book of Joshua
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