Reality, Grief, Hope: Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks

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by Walter Brueggemann

Walter Brueggemann is one of the most highly regarded Old Testament scholars of our time; talk-show host Krista Tippett has even called him a kind of theological rock star.  In this new book Brueggemann probes the tasks performed by the ancient prophets of Israel and points out striking correlations between the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 b.c.e. and the catastrophic crisis of 9/11 in a.d. 2001.  Brueggemann identifies a characteristic ideology of exceptionalism - chosenness, entitlement, privilege - which must be countered by prophetic realism and truth-telling.  Denial must give way to honest grief.  And, finally, widespread despair must be overcome by a buoyant hope.  This sequence of ideology-realism, denial-grief, and despair-hope corresponds to Brueggemann's unpacking of the books of Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Isaiah.  Thoughtful readers will find provocative fare aplenty in Brueggemann's Reality, Grief, Hope.