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A Social Reading of the Old Testament: Prophetic Approaches to Israel’s Communal Life
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A Social Reading of the Old Testament: Prophetic Approaches to Israel’s Communal Life


Fortress Press 1994

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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.

In this collection of essays, Walter Brueggemann raises a variety of intriguing, contemporary questions on the relation of society and text in the Old Testament, such as:

  • The hidden agendas that underlie the making and reading of Scripture
  • The conflict and tension in ancient Israel
  • The cry to God of the oppressed and God’s response
  • The political dimension of mercy
  • Theodicy, violence, horses, and chariots

Brueggemann opens to a myriad of readers a compelling picture of subversive paradigm and social possibility in the Hebrew Bible.

With the Logos Bible Software edition, you can journey through this volume with today’s most advanced tools for reading and studying God’s Word. All Scripture passages are linked to your library’s original language texts and English translations. Enhance your study with Logos’ advanced features—search by topic to find out what Brueggemann teaches on the Exodus, or find every mention of “Psalm 91” throughout his works.

Key Features

  • Provides essential Old Testament scholarship from one of the most prominent living scholars
  • Contains clear and deep insight on theology, history, hermeneutics, ancient sociology, and Scripture
  • Includes material perfect for pastors, professors, counselors, and Old Testament scholars


  • Part One: Guidelines and Approaches
    • Trajectories in Old Testament Literature and the Sociology of Ancient Israel
    • Covenant as Subversive Paradigm
    • Covenant and Social Possibility
  • Part Two: A Social Reading of Particular Texts
    • Social Criticism and Social Vision in the Deuteronomic Formula of the Judges
    • “Vine and Fig Tree”: A Case Study in Imagination and Criticism
    • At the Mercy of Babylon: A Subversive Rereading of the Empire
    • A Poem of Summons (Isaiah 55:1–8) and a Narrative of Resistance (Daniel 1)
  • Part Three: A Social Reading of Particular Issues
    • Israel’s Social Criticism and Yahweh’s Sexuality
    • Theodicy in a Social Dimension
    • The Social Nature of the Biblical Text for Preaching
    • The Prophet as a Destabilizing Presence
    • The Social Significance of Solomon as a Patron of Wisdom
    • Rethinking Church Models through Scripture
    • Reflections on Biblical Understandings of Poverty
    • Revelation and Violence: A Study in Contextualization

Praise for the Print Edition

Raises a variety of intriguing questions related to the relation of society and text in the Old Testament. Brueggemann’s social reading is a constant awareness of the social dimensions of every text.

Patrick D. Miller, Charles T. Haley Professor Emeritus of Old Testament Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

Product Details

  • Title: A Social Reading of the Old Testament: Prophetic Approaches to Israel’s Communal Life
  • Author: Walter Brueggemann
  • Publisher: Augsburg Fortress
  • Publication Date: 1994
  • Pages: 336

About Walter Brueggemann

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.