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Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy [With CDROM] Paperback – July 19, 2005

3.9 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Walter Brueggemann shows that Old Testament theology is alive and well... This monumental endeavor offers an abundance of ideas that will carry Old Testament theology well into the twenty-first century." -- Phyllis Trible

About the Author

Professor Brueggemann, who holds the Th.D. from Union Seminary, New York, and the Ph.D. from St. Louis University, is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia. He was previously Professor of Old Testament at Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis. His many Fortress Press books, including The Threat of Life: Sermons on Pain, Power, and Weakness (1996), exhibit a fecund combination of imaginative power, sound scholarship, and a passion of justice and redemption.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 777 pages
  • Publisher: Fortress Press (July 19, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800637658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800637651
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,608,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
On the dust-jacket of my copy of "The Works of Jonathan Edwards" is this endorsement by Martyn Lloyd-Jones: "If I had the power I would make these two volumes compulsory reading for all ministers!" Well, that's exactly how I feel about Brueggemann's "Theology of the Old Testament." It's simply the best, most relevant, most useful book I have ever read, on any subject related to the Christian life. Brueggemann opens doors to reading and interpreting the Bible (Old and New Testaments) with deep faithfulness, bold imagination, and scathing criticism of the culture in which we find ourselves. His critique of both liberal and conservative approaches to the Bible is refreshingly egalitarian.

Brueggemann's agenda is to listen attentively to all the diverse (and divergent) voices within the Old Testament, seeking truth in the midst of these "disputes," but without attempting to harmonize them or produce a "systematic" theology. This approach is astonishing in its relevance to our current situation: the advent of post-modernism with its emphasis on pluralism and relativized, deconstructed truth; the disestablishment, indeed exile, of the American Church; and the dominant Western "metanarrative" of "military consumerism." Though I disagree with some of the ideas presented, I am far richer and better for having read this book. Brueggemann himself would be the first to invite readers to dispute both his method and his conclusions.

My acid test for ministry books: "Give me something I can use!" This material is far more than useful, it's transformational.
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Format: Hardcover
This work by Walter Brueggemann is perhaps his most comprehensive view of the Old Testament to date. As the title implies, this is a Christian reading of the Old Testament scriptures (for scholars who approach the collection from a more objective standpoint prefer to avoid the use of the term 'Old Testament' in favour of the term 'Hebrew Scriptures'). However, Brueggemann is sensitive to the contemporary context of the scriptures and places them firmly in their rightful place for analysis.
Brueggemann concentrates on Yahweh -- there are other formulations of God in the text (Elohim, for example, or El-Shaddai in Job) but these don't tend to be dominant, so Brueggemann doesn't treat them so. As the subtitle suggests -- Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy -- Brueggemann uses an overall framework of a jury trial, with the presentation of evidence, argument, interpretation, and witnesses.
The first and final sections of the book are analytical and place this book in proper context of the history of OT research and writing, and where this is likely to continue, particularly with the idea of interpretation in a pluralistic context, which is fitting considering the plurality of voices present in the scriptures.
The first witness, of course, is Israel. Israel's experience in the scriptures, however, provides it with both a core testimony of God, as well as a counter-testimony of God. Brueggemann is good about maintaining a tension between poles in his writings, and here he has Israel's testimony pitted against itself, looking for Yahweh in the tension between.
Then there are components of unsolicited testimony, those of creation, humanity, the nations.
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Format: Hardcover
The book is easy to read. It begins with two chapters on the historical process of Old Testament Theology, which Brueggemann calls "retrospects." The outline for those two chapters give insight not only into the major theologians but also Brueggemann's overview of their contributions. Later, the core of the book which revolves around the formation of Israel's concept of the nature of God is creative, using the ligation process of a courtroom, and shows great care and skill in linguistics and what Brueggemann calls "imagination," of which he is an expert! While fresh in presentation, this work builds on classical Old Testament theologies arriving at similar conclusions. His commitment to the polyphonic voice of the Old Testament is seen in action throughout the work. "Israel's Countertestimony" (part II) is one of the most interesting sections of the book. I enjoyed the book very much, and would suggest it for use by pastors and academicians who are serious about hearing the Word of God in today's multicultural society.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Any serious student of theology must not miss the excellency of this book. Brueggemann with his two doctorate degrees is qualified and his writing experience of about 20 other books makes him the man of the hour for Old Testament.
He painstakingly starts with Luther and brings the movement of theology up to present in numerous chapters. He is not afraid to address the issues most have in weakness or inability not addressed. He starts to build upon the foundation that Yahweh is Yahweh in relation and that Israel is the witness of Yahweh. Their witness is recorded in Old Testament Scripture.

Using verbs, adjectives and nouns we can start to see Yahweh in relation, action and his character. He is not afraid to deal with testimony and countertestimony. Nor is he afraid to reveal and deal with tensions between issues where most have avoided or compromised. Neither does he soft stroke the Psalms of complaint in contrast to the high Psalms of faith and praise. Neither is he soft when he mentions Israel's commitment to justice in "alternative to the deathly ideology of technological, military consumerism".

He beautifully reveals Yahweh's relation with Israel and with the world. God's care for the world and the suffering of humanity. And revealing to all including Christians that the "Law" is not the legalistic document portrayed by most as supposed in contrast to "Grace". Israel with joy received Torah and it brought order to chaos.

Although he touches on the Holocaust a few times he never brings a conclusion into his book on the subject. He leaves you wondering what he thinks and why he brought up the subject. I would like to have had his thoughts and some insights from scripture. Just the mention of the Holocaust brings questions and a thirst for more understanding.

Your understanding of theology, Old Testament theology and of the intricate God of the Bible will be profoundly expounded and expanded. A must and a delight!
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