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Struggling with Scripture Paperback – March 1, 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. He is the world's leading interpreter of the Old Testament, and is the author of numerous books, including Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination and Reverberations of Faith: A Theological Handbook of Old Testament Themes.

William C. Placher was Charles D. and Elizabeth S. LaFollette Distinguished Professor in the Humanities and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. He was the author or editor of a number of books including A History of Christian Theology, Jesus the Savior, and Essentials of Christian Theology, all published by WJK.

Brian K. Blount is President and Professor of New Testament at Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Secondary Education in Richmond, Virginia. He is the coauthor of Preaching Mark in Two Voices and Making Room at the Table and the author of Can I Get a Witness?, all available from WJK.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (March 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664224857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664224851
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #698,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a good read, I would not suggest is a quick read. The authors are biblical scholars in their right (Brueggmann, Placher and Blount) and they give the reader food for thought. The book will challenge your thinking and maybe the way you look at the world. Don't read it if you are not honest with your struggle.
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This is one book that I enjoyed but, at the same time, not sure I know what to make of it. It basically a short set of essays by three scholars on interpreting the Biblical text. It's main thesis, as far as I understood it, was that if we are serious with the Bible, we will struggle in finding the meaning of what is written without forcing any of our own preconceived or 21st century models into the text. That is, we need to be fluid enough to change our theological stance whenever we discover and encounter text that challenge our own views and ways of thinking. Brueggemann notes that the "process of interpretation that precludes final settlement on almost all questions is self-evident in the Bible." Further, he contends that thr Bible, even in its final form, is "profoundly polyvalent, yielding no single exegetical outcome, but allowing layers and layers of fresh reading in which God's own life and character are deeply engaged and put at risk" (p.14-15).

Blount, in the last essay, contends basically that if the Bible is a "Living Word", it is not stagnant, meaning (as I understood it) that the understanding and values of words in the Biblical text, which existed among the first century believers in relation to their way of life, "must no longer be equally valued today." Then he hoes on to give two example of what he means: (1) slavery in America, and (2) homosexual behavior.

It is the second example that is not a good example of texts changing value between the first century Christians and those of today or of it having polyvalent meanings.
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By A Customer on August 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent, short book. The authors have made it an easy read and it has a lot of food for thought. If you want to expand and challenge your mind, then this is a book for you. I would not recommend this book to anyone who does not want to be challenged or is not honest with their faith journey.
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Brueggemann is always very helpful in his writings to better understand scripture. It sometimes takes a while when delving into the his writing to really understand what he is saying.
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Format: Paperback
When we chose Prof Bruegge's books to give away as Christmas gifts, one of those was Struggling with Scripture. It brings out one of his personal beginnings in the confirmation service by his Father. At that point he is given the Psalm verse, 119:105: "Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path." In his recorded memory, our good Professor says: "He did in that act more than he knew. Providentially, I have no doubt he marked my life by this Book that would be lamp and light..."

One of our Prof's recurring themes comes often in his influence of the Holy Spirit: "The Spirit meets us always afresh in our faithful reading, in each new time, place, and circumstance. Anyone who imagines that reading is settled and eternally simple does not pay attention to the process in which we are all engaged, liberals or conservatives." In many lectures, classroom discussions he has often referred to the failure of any passage having only one single interpretation! (This struck me recently in his talk at First Presbyterian Church, Atlanta when he made a firm assertion he was neither liberal or conservative.)

He touches Biblical Authority through the avenures of Inherency, Interpretation, Imagination, Ideology and Inspiration. In one of his first classes at Columbia Seminary, I was present when he used these five words beginning with I's. That immediately hooked me into signing-up for his Survey of Old Testament, next his Theology of the Old Testament.

Brueggemann's first Chapter lives up to the Preface comments by William Sloan Coffin, where he introduces Prof Blount, then Prof Placher and finally in more detail Prof Bruegge. I cannot come close to adequately describe this gem of three chapters plus the delightful preface of William Coffin. When you have heard these two similarly dramatic speakers then you surely will want to digest their magically miraculous, wondrous descriptive words. Gratefully, Retired Chaplain Fred W Hood
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