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An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination (Canon & Christian Imagination) Paperback – 25 Jul 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; 2 edition (25 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664234585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664234584
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 15.2 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 553,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. Tod Linafelt is Professor of Biblical Literature in the Theology Department at Georgetown University.

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By Yin-An Chen on 21 Mar. 2015
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Makes One Enjoy the Old Testament 3 Nov. 2012
By Dr Conrade Yap - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Who says the Old Testament is outdated and boring? The first edition of this book already sheds new light to the way we can read the Old Testament. The second edition broadens the scope with a whole new chapter on the literary genres, the biblical narratives and the poetry. Along with "textboxes" to focus the reader on key material, it makes this book an interesting read too, with extra-biblical material to expand the understanding of the contexts, as well as a way to look closer at the texts.What makes this volume fascinating is the way it allows Christian imagination to bring alive the canon. Brueggemann's bird's-eye view of the Old Testament brings about some key important observations of the overall flow of the Old Testament. It speaks of God's creation plan that has an end in mind: bringing His people to the Promised Land. It is written in a way that appeals across generations. The movements of narratives from heaven to earth, from prologue to dialogues, from judgment to promise, and many more, forces the reader to sit up and grapple with the ancient texts with contemporary wakefulness. Not only is Brueggemann able to keep his feet within the canonical texts, and to expand his interpretive creativity to horizons beyond the ancient texts, he is able to balance the two through an acute understanding of three frames. The frames of theological intention of the writers, the theological significance of the entire canon, and the theological conviction that it builds in readers. With the Torah as the "clue to the future," the Prophets as the instilling upon the conscience of the people, and the Writings as a lively dialogue of the entire canon and the existing contexts, the entire Old Testament is one living Word that informs, that reforms, and that transforms lives, both then, now, and for future generations.

I find my curiosity piqued, my creativity energized, and my conscientiousness of the Old Testament refreshed. Readers will have a sense that the author does not only talk about, or simply enjoy writing about the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. He enjoys them all. For true enjoyment raises the passion for creativity, for creativity is a potent way to relate to our generation. This is what we all need. This is what all Bible students need. It is common to hear that exegesis and study of biblical texts is more of a science while hermeneutics and interpretation is more of an art. Brueggemann shows us how all both science and art are bridged.

It is really hard to find a bone to pick in this brilliant book. Deep in scholarship, wise in applying the theological themes, and vibrant in interpretive creativity, this work will continue to be a top choice for courses and seminary classes on the Old Testament.

Rating: 5 stars of 5.

This book is provided to me free by Westminster John Knox Press and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Much Needed 10 Jan. 2014
By Darian Burns - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
At first one might be tempted to ask the question “Is there a need for another introduction to the Old Testament?” Although the question seems to suggest we have enough, I would answer that while we may not need another run of the mill introduction, we do indeed need this one. We do indeed need an Old Testament Introduction by Walter Brueggemann.
Brueggemann begins the book by describing his own effort to mediate and make available fresh learnings of Old Testament studies that will be of peculiar force for pastors and Christian congregations. This is good news because he tells us he is not writing for Biblical Scholars but, instead, for you and me. However, the book is certainly solid and would be an excellent resource to not only pastors and laymen but to students beginning with Bible studies in college and seminary.
Brueggemann spends some time on the canon process of the Old Testament. He sees the canonizing process as a vigorous one. For Brueggemann, the Old Testament is canonical in its rich variegation: the polyvalence of the text itself is an important part of the canonical claim.
His introduction summarizes his hermeneutics and his position concerning the task of writing an introduction to the Old Testament. This section is likely the most important for the academic discussion. First, Brueggeman reflects on the term Old Testament and rejects all misunderstandings of it in a sense of supersessionism. A Christian reading of the Old Testament at all times should keep in mind that the Hebrew reading is also faithful to the text and is to be taken with the same level of seriousness. Christians are co-readers with Jews. Furthermore, the term “old” may not be misunderstood as obsolete, since the Old Testament is indispensably important in a Christian reading of the New Testament. Brueggemann also writes on the uncomfortable and the banishment of the church’s relation to Judaism, a problem already discussed by Paul in Rom 9:11.

Brueggemann’s introduction continues with remarks about the basic periods of the history of ancient Israel. He immediately makes clear that the Old Testament is by far not an immediate source to reconstruct what happened. What we have in the Old Testament, rather than reportage, is a sustained memory that has been filtered through many generations of the interpretive process, with many interpreters imposing certain theological intentionalities on the memory that continues to be reformulated. The terms memory and remembering become very important in Brueggemann’s expositions. As an example, he points to the exodus narrative. It surely has behind it some defining emancipatory happening, to which we, however, have no access. Much more important than the actual incident is the process of remembering. Brueggamann writes, “This act of imaginative remembering, I believe, is the clue to valuing the Bible as trustworthy voice of faith while still taking seriously our best critical learning”. The texts are not a descriptive reportage of a common-sense world but the result of an act of imagination: many biblical texts reach beyond the common sense and develop the world of YHWH as it should be or as it will come to be. Scripture is spiritual which means it does not always interact perfectly with the physical.
Brueggemann’s introduction offers many helpful study tool, one of which is when he introduces the parts of the Hebrew canon and every single book under his and the Old Testament’s foreshadowing. Through his learned retelling of the contents, paying broad attention to the overall coherence of the texts and books, the reader gets important insights into the larger compositional lines. There is indeed a need for such a kind of introduction, especially designed for pastors, teachers, and church communities, because the usual way of hearing scripture in the liturgy runs the risk of giving one only a fragmented and one-sided impression of the content and style of the Bible. Brueggemannís introductions to the individual books provide brief and necessary information that enables an intelligent and fruitful reading of the biblical text as a whole.

The book is written with energy and freshness and is not nearly as dry as one might believe. The reader is enlightened with the scholarly debate about the hermeneutics of the Jewish and the Christian Bible as well as about methodology and the relevance of Old Testament exegesis but you are never overwhelmed by it.
An excellent resource and welcome addition to the study and understanding of the Old Testament. A solid aid for understanding God’s word and character more fully.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This needs more reviews! 31 Dec. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just stumbled upon this as I was searching for something else. I bought this book a while ago and use it often. I don't have time to give detailed thoughts on it... However, this book is amazing. Brueggemann speaks with so much clarity and sense and authority. He is not dogmatic about conclusions where dogmatism is not warranted, but gives tons of powerful evidence to make strong conclusions that stand on solid ground. This title would make extremely conservative Christians a bit uncomfortable. That is a sad thing as they will miss out on treasures of spiritual and intellectual wealth. Conservative Christians will certainly not wrestle with the data anywhere close to close as sufficient as this author does. And at the end there is nothing to fear about critical scholarship. God is God, and the data is what the data is. We simply fit the data into a Christian worldview and attribute all that has happened into the perview of God's providence and accept that this is what He has done. Breuggemann is by far one of the best at this (along with Childs or Goldingay and others). Allowing warranted critical positions into our confession is a deeply freeing experience, as we no longer need to run from seemingly clear data that points in a different direction than our presupposed traditions. Another benefit of this book is its deep theological and spiritual content in the midst of its intellectually stimulating critical content. This book as an absolutely must read for anyone seriously interested in the splendid book of what Christians call the Old Testament!!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An Inroduction to the Old Testament A Good Resource For Biblical Study 7 May 2014
By pamela nemmetz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My Pastor recommended this study guide to me , and I have been very pleased with it. It is witten with authority and insight yet is clear and easily understandable for the lay student who wishes to expand their Biblical knowledge base and enhance their reading of scripture.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
but a great reference. 19 Nov. 2014
By Bruce H. Johanson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A somewhat difficult read, but a great reference.
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