- Paperback: 151 pages
- Publisher: FORTRESS PRESS; 2 edition (June 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0800632877
- ISBN-13: 978-0800632878
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 96 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Prophetic Imagination, 2nd Edition Paperback – June 1, 2001
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About the Author
Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia. He is the author of more than thirty books and commentaries.
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It changed the way I read the Bible. There isn't a page where something profound isn't said. It's hard to come up with something to say that encapsulates this work. It's just so good.
Prophecy exists today, and Walter Brueggemann's text explores what this particular spiritual gift is, and how it's experienced internally by the prophet, as well as externally by the people prophesied to or about. Neither fortune-telling nor future-casting, prophecy at its heart is speaking the truth at any cost, often in the face of threats or bribes to do otherwise.
In this book I recognized not only the pain of Hebrew Scriptural prophets, but I recognized the drives and motivations of muckraking journalists, whistleblowers, conscientious objectors, and anyone who's ever stood up to tell the truth and shame the devil. I began to wonder how I would know if my favorite 'difficult person' a prophet, or just a pain in the butt.
Brueggemann answers this question, also. Prophecy's effect on the imagination is equally subtle and powerful. To make the truth visible, the prophet needs an active, muscular imagination, and with it the words to make the vision the prophet sees a vision others can hear him or her say. The prophet presents a point of view that does not enrich himself, but God. Prophets are forceful, but they are not bullies: bullies can choose what they say, when they say it, and who to say it in front of. Prophets don't get these choices. Prophets are charismatic: their authority is of God, not from the organization they are speaking to. No wonder kings fear them and need them.
One of the things the prophet can do is drive a question to the table and require some statement about values be made, The shocking willingness to challenge, to be "not nice" (by ignoring uncomfortable or "undiscussable" topics), takes the prophet out of the norm of conventional manners and behavior. When culture ("that's the way we've always done it") and assumptions menace spiritual values, the prophet is the one who stands up to hold the conversation that otherwise doesn't happen. It's rude. It's loud. It's uncomfortable. The prophet doesn't profit from prophecy; the words spoken are the words of God. The prophet speaks with God's emotions, God's passion, and lights up the conversation, the room, and the world with he things the world doesn't want to hear. Hearing would mean acknowledgement, which in turn would require action.
Brueggemann's style is passionate and persuasive; I rarely see exclamation marks well used, and almost never in academic work, but I find both in the text. Brueggemann's enthusiasm for his subject is easy to feel and easy to read. Recommended for anyone who, like myself, wondered why Jonah, Jesus, or your favorite muckraking whistleblower just "couldn't be quiet and be happy."