Known as one of America’s best theologians and one of the world’s foremost scholars on the Old Testament, Walter Brueggemann has inspired young scholars and students and driven the discourse on theology with some of the biggest players in contemporary Bible scholarship.
Preaching out of the book of Jeremiah presents natural problems and difficulties to pastors and ministers alike. Despite being one of the largest books in the Bible, Jeremiah is often overlooked in sermons and teaching. Taking on the task of making this challenging book more accessible to pastors and preachers, Walter Brueggemann discusses each aspect of Jeremiah as source material for prophetic teaching.
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Like Fire in the Bones is a gift to the churches and to anyone interested in prophetic literature with its harsh rhetoric, blazing visions, and demanding yet merciful God. Jeremiah may have had fire in his bones, but Brueggemann sets fires with his pen. He shows how Jeremiah speaks into the abyss of historical catastrophe with speech that matches experience. He underlines the disputatious political character of theological speech. He reiterates Jeremiah’s call to covenant loyalty even in the face of religious and government forces that suppress and silence words of life. He illuminates Jeremiah’s bare-boned hope for a world in the thrall of empire and social amnesia. If ever there was need for imaginative rereading of Jeremiah and of the texts of common life, it is now. At this, Brueggemann is a master.
—Kathleen M. O’Connor, William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary
Jeremiah, the longest book in the Bible, is neglected much too often by preacher and teacher alike. That neglect is due, in significant part, to the prophet’s often-sharp words that strike too close to home, in his own generation and in ours. It is telling that the prophet Jeremiah, the focus of these essays that span much of Walter Brueggemann’s prophetic ministry, has been in his head and heart for such a long time. Again and again, Brueggemann’s own words have mirrored Jeremiah to us, and the times in which we presently live could profit from hearing them again.
—Terence E. Fretheim, Elva B. Lovell Professor of Old Testament, Luther Seminary
Walter Brueggemann through his teaching, lecturing, and writing, has effectively demonstrated the significance of the Old Testament for our fractured world today. Recognized as the preeminent interpreter of the ancient texts in relation to questions posed by a variety of academic disciplines, he has shown the way toward a compelling understanding of the major components of the faith and life of ancient Israel, especially its Psalms, the prophets, and the narratives. His award-winning Theology of the Old Testament quickly became a foundational work in the field.
Brueggemann, who holds a ThD from Union Seminary, New York, and a PhD from St. Louis University, is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia. He was previously professor of Old Testament at Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis. His many Fortress Press books, including The Threat of Life: Sermons on Pain, Power, and Weakness, exhibit a fecund combination of imaginative power, sound scholarship, and a passion of justice and redemption.
Patrick D. Miller is Charles T. Haley Professor Emeritus of Old Testament Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey.
“It is clear that the disclosure word given by Jeremiah is aimed at and impinges upon public leadership” (Page 11)
“Fifth, I do not understand it, but historymakers are relentlessly filled with hope” (Page 196)
“He knew profoundly that everything is loose and being shaken and that the agent of such rising and falling is none other than YHWH.” (Page 10)
“Rather Jeremiah’s decisive political judgment is made on clear theological grounds. He” (Page 13)
“Jeremiah understands public history as an arena of God’s free activity” (Page 12)
Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. He is past president of the Society of Biblical Literature and the author of numerous books, including David’s Truth: In Israel’s Imagination and Memory, Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching Genesis, and The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary.