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Struggling with Scripture [Paperback]

By Walter Brueggemann (Author)
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Item description for Struggling with Scripture by Walter Brueggemann...

Overview
In these reflections, the authors write that the Bible, as the live word of the living God, will not submit to the accounts we prefer to give of it. They note that taking the Bible most seriously means struggling to understand its meaning as well as affirming its truth.

Publishers Description

Challenging the traditional meaning of Scripture is not easy, even in the face of issues that call into question those traditional interpretations. In these reflections, Walter Brueggemann says that the Bible, as the live word of the living God, will not submit to the accounts we prefer to give it. The Bible's inherent, central evangelical proclamation has greater and more permanent authority than our inescapably provisional interpretations. William Placher notes that taking the Bible most seriously means struggling to understand its meaning as well as affirming its truth. And Brian Blount distinguishes what some may claim as a "last word," which is necessarily a dead word, from the living word that is God's word to us today.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Struggling with Scripture by Walter Brueggemann has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Books & Culture - 05/01/2008 page 12


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Item Specifications...


Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Pages   69
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.98" Width: 5.2" Height: 0.18"
Weight:   0.25 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 9, 2010
Publisher   Westminster John Knox Press
ISBN  0664224857  
ISBN13  9780664224851  


Availability  0 units.


More About Walter Brueggemann


Walter Brueggemann

Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary.

Walter Brueggemann has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Literary Currents in Biblical Interpretation
  2. Old Testament Theology
  3. Shalom Resource
  4. Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary


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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( B ) > Brueggemann, Walter
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Commentaries > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Concordances


Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > Contemporary Issues



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Reviews - What do customers think about Struggling with Scripture?

STRUGGLING WITH METHODOLOGY - DISTORTING SCRIPTURE  Oct 10, 2004
Dr. Bosch is a researcher, apologist, and full-time university professor in Southern California, U.S.A.

Prof. Walter Brueggemann begins by sharing how Psalm 119:105 ("Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path'), his life text, handed down to him at his confirmation from his father, who taught him "the artistry as well as the authority of scripture" became his starting point. This coupled to Brueggemann's approach to Scripture, which was strongly influenced by a number of liberal theologians (of the German variety), helps to understand what appears to be a balancing effort of wanting to stay rooted in what he calls, "apostolic faith," yet not accept the text (Bible) to be finally authoritative (p.11). This would be understood by some as declension (deviating from the text) and being speculative interpretation. Brueggemann's approach to the Bible makes the reader especially important (primary), while the Biblical text becomes secondary - thus subjecting the Bible to humanity rather than the Bible being the standard for humanity - to live and order one's life.

A natural outgrowth from this line of thinking leads one to ask: Did the text change? Did we suddenly/gradually find better historical/exegetical/ hermeneutical tools? If for nothing more than for scholarly integrity, it would deem wise to just let the Biblical text be the text. The contemporary struggles with the Bible largely stem from the way that the Biblical text is being treated and the failure to adhere to the Biblical teaching concerning its interpretation in order to understand it as its Author intended. In light of all of what is being said and done about interpretation, it seems appropriate to ask: What does the Bible teach about interpreting the Bible? Some may be surprised to find out what it says.

Although Prof. Brueggemann would like for the reader to consider him as belonging to the "Reformed" worldview (p. 6), his writing, together with that of his co-authors (Placher and Blount), confirms that he is a Revisionist - a postmodern Biblical interpretation that at times sidesteps Scripture and tradition thus allowing to claim a unique brand of so-called Christian thought.

Prof. Brueggemann's six "facets of Biblical interpretation" are interestingly captured in six "I" descriptors: (1) inherency, (2) interpretation, (3) ideology, (4) inspiration, (5) imagination, and (6) urgency (importance). These give way to concepts such as God's word is not fixed or frozen - it is the "live word of God." That is, the authoritative Word is embodied in the text of Scripture, while Scripture not actually being the authoritative Word - leaving fallible humanity to ascertain what is authoritative seems to be false expectation. He states that beyond the affirmations of the Apostolic faith one must attach only "tentative authority." The Word of God is perceived as being lodged within the text that came forth from fallible human sources. Therefore, reading and understanding the Bible hinges on "a particular time, place, and circumstance" and "can never be absolute." Thus, one interpretation "is more than likely to be displaced by yet another reading in another time and place, a reading that may depart from or even judge the older reading or even the older text" (p. 16).

The notion/ideology of a later Biblical teaching replacing an earlier teaching goes against there being an [unmovable] foundation (teachings) of the Apostles, Prophets, and Jesus Christ upon which the whole Christian faith community is to "grow" thereby (Eph. 2:20-22). The moment the Word of God is perceived and treated to have come forth from fallible human sources it must be allowed to be displaced, and even replaced, otherwise it would be impossible to reconcile earlier, as well as incompatible, fallible teachings. Thus, change, better identified as shift (given that the foundational roots are largely lost/left behind), is incorrectly described as being growth and advancement. What is really taking place, is the exchange of an earlier fallible teaching (no longer useful) for a later fallible teaching that accommodates a "Christianity" fashioned by the hands of humanity instead of receiving, examining, believing, and knowing "the faith that was once for all delivered" (Jude 3). That faith, including the Apostolic faith that Brueggemann suggests, teaches, "God is not a man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?" (Num. 23:19).

When the "absolute" is not understood (in spite of "a particular time, place, and circumstance"), it simply points out humanity's fallibility - the incapacity to interpret God "things," and confirms its need for a paraclete (a helper). Choosing the right helper seems to be what gets humanity in trouble when trying to understand the Bible - God's Word. However, God's [absolute] Word claims the Holy Spirit to be that Helper - the one to equip with the capacity to discern the things that God has revealed in His Word (1 Cor. 2:10-11). In fact, we are invited to stop struggling and come to the Imparter of the Holy Spirit to experience that His burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30).


(Note: The three stars assigned to the book is largely because of its weakness to establish premises that would validate making the leaps and arriving at the conclusions that it promotes. It fails to address the incompatibility (of conflicts and contradictions) that arises when reconciling the conclusions with the greater context of the Bible).

 
One Struggle we all have in Common!  Jan 29, 2003
When we chose Prof Bruegge's books to give away as Christmmas gifts, one of those was Struggling with Scripture. It brings out 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..."

From his long and intimately personal love for the Psalms, he touches upon his early church tradition of "simple, irenic piety from the past..." One of those few pages in Bruegge's writings when he piles up adjectives and adverbs like, "seemingly, then utterly beyond me in its richness, concretely in my hands and unprecedented generativity!" When he comes out with creative linguistics and adds the emotion of his spoken words, it is enough to take you back into time and forward into what will surely follow...In his rapidly moving train of thought!

He touches Biblical Authority through the avenures of Inherency, Interpretation, Imagination, Ideology and Inspiration. In one of his first classes at Columbia Seminary when I was present he used these five huge words beginning with I's. That immediately hooked me into signing-on for his Survey of Old Testament and 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 and then Prof Placher and finally in more detail Prof Bruegge. I cannot say enough good things about this little gem of three chapters and delightful preface of Bill Coffin's. 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

 
One Common Struggle we all inherit !  Jan 29, 2003
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
 
Breath of fresh air  Aug 8, 2002
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.
 
Breath of fresh air  Aug 8, 2002
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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