Brueggemann’s OT Theology

brueggemannWalter Brueggemann is one of the preeminent OT scholars of his generation. His magnus opus, Theology of the Old Testament, has been well received in the academy and described as a ‘milestone’ by one reviewer. The good news, for those who want to get acquainted with Brueggemann, is that there is a thinner book (just 400 pages!) available as an entry point. It is entitled Old Testament Theology and is in some ways an updated and abridged version of the fat book. Now I should be clear at the outset that Brueggemann would not identify himself as a conservative evangelical, or even just plain old evangelical for that matter. He’s more of a post-modern liberal using a canonical approach (if you know or care what that means). That is not to say that he therefore has nothing useful to say or teach – there is much. His analysis of texts is careful and often thought-provoking. His style and language is joyfully poetic meaning that reading him is enjoyable. And he is always keen to apply the Scriptures to contemporary life.

Old Testament Theology has four main parts:

  1. YHWH’s primal disclosures – looking at Ex 3, 19-24, 32-34
  2. YHWH’s character – as sovereign, in metaphor, as the true God, as the God of miracle and order
  3. The Community of praise and obedience – and the dialogic of holiness and justice
  4. The Hope of Israel and the hope of the world – some great eschatology here

I’ve been reading some of his stuff for my PhD and I particularly like his stuff on monotheism and the community’s life and role as a community of praise and obedience. Of course you won’t agree with everything but if you want to stretch you legs a bit and be helped and stimulated, it’s well worth having a copy on your shelves.

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