Saturday, May 03, 2008

Reading Brueggemann

This a comment on one of Walter's books that I had written last year for my rarely visited web page.

Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope - Contested Truth in a Post-Christian World by Walter Brueggemann

Brueggemann gives me a headache theologically. I say this as a positive. Anytime one moves, as he puts it, from orientation to disorientation to new orientation; I suppose a theological headache is a natural result.

I wish I had come across Brueggemann years ago. His premise of faith being an active process of dialogic interpretation would have helped me to understand a lot of what I was going through both philosophically and theologically. He has given substance to many concepts I felt implicitly, but lacked the vocabulary and the background knowledge to state explicitly.

It is hard for me to grab hold of a particular quote from the book to use as an example. The items I underlined really require the previous page or two to give the full effect from that quote. However, I will give a shot at one. This one grabs me because I am learning that how I come to the text of the Bible will have no small effect on what I receive from the Bible. It is therefore necessary that I maintain and pursue voices that challenge my interpretations; for mine are, at best, penultimate. For as Walter says, "Tomorrow there is always another interpretation."

"The irascible character of God and the elusive rhetoric of the text mean that the outcome of textual testimony is deeply polyvalent, that is, it speaks with many voices and is profoundly open to rich variation in rendering." ~ Walter Brueggemann


didymus said...

Did you buy that book at the B&N on State Str. just north of 106th S. I remember them having that book, but I've never picked it up.

I have a couple of Brueggemann's books, but I haven't invested the time in them yet. Maybe we could read and discuss one together.

(The ones I have are The Prophetic Imagination, and An Introduction to the Old Testament)

Andrew said...

Nah, I picked this up at Amazon. I have to say that Walter is a hard read for me. He is easy to listen to, but his books are hard.

Redlefty said...

Have your read "The Bible: A Biography" by Karen Armstrong?

At first her writing makes her appear to be very anti-bible and anti-Christianity, but as the book develops, it becomes evident that she loves God and is hoping we can put down the fundamentalism and step away.

It made me think again of how I "approach the text", as you said.

Andrew said...

Red- I haven't read Karen yet, but you are the second person recently who has recommended her. I will be adding her to the reading stack. :)

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