Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy

Fortress Press, 1997 - 777 páginas
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In this powerful book, Walter Brueggemann moves the discussion of Old Testament theology beyond the dominant models of Walter Eichrodt in the 1930s and Gerhard von Rad in the 1950s.

Brueggemann focuses on the metaphor and imagery of the courtroom trial in order to regard the theological substance of the Old Testament as a series of claims asserted for Yahweh, the God of Israel. This provides a context that attends to pluralism in every dimension of the interpretive process and suggests links to the plurality of voices of our time.

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This book might be called the magnum opus of Brueggemann's extensive writing on the Old Testament Scriptural canon. This so, because aside from offering an overview of the last two centuries or so of Old Testament Christian scholarship that had in accordance with Western Enlightenment (despite its undoubted expertise and scholarship)- an undue concern with discovering a central definable theme of the Hebrew Bible.
Instead, Brueggemann astutely frames this theology within a framework of the dialectic of human and divine angles of discourse; which in themselves are imbued with metaphors of hope, and exile, despair, abandonment but also of life, truth and ultimate trust and open dependence in YHWH/ G-D. Perhaps it should be called a 'Prologemena to the study of the Hebrew Scriptures' in which the whole matter of the Christian hermeneutic approach is re-cast within the ambivalent climate of the ongoing relationship of G-D with Israel and hence especially since Jesus Christ- the re-iteration of unstinted love and grace with all humanity.
His writing stresses the imparting of breath of life in narrative discourse and rhetorical appreciation of the canonical given of the text. that at the same time dares to speculate on the essence of G-D's Being while at the same time retains a respectful contingent attitude to the often 'Other'/ (seemingly) 'capricious' qualities of G-D's own Self Regard and how that pans out qua human understanding.
I found it full of spiritual insight and have been affirmed in the process to continue to read the texts more in appreciation of the artistry of the text that through 'midrash' manner attempts to hint at things and often offer counter arguments at the same time; whereby humanity remains at a loss of whether salvation can be claimed or better- trustfully can be hoped for by trusting in G-D's ultimate 'fidelity' of righteous judgment on all flesh. I get the distinct impression that Brueggemann would agree- that to do otherwise- might constitute an affront to the way Yahweh/ G-D wants to be understood.
Rein Zeilstra
Bowan Park, NSW


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