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The Prophetic Imagination

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In this challenging and enlightening treatment, Brueggemann traces the lines from the radical vision of Moses to the solidification of royal power in Solomon to the prophetic critique of that power with a new vision of freedom in the prophets. Here he traces the broad sweep from Exodus to Kings to Jeremiah to Jesus. He highlights that the prophetic vision and not only embraces the pain of the people but creates an energy and amazement based on the new thing that God is doing.

151 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1978

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About the author

Walter Brueggemann

281 books482 followers
Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary. He is the world's leading interpreter of the Old Testament and is the author of numerous books, including Westminster John Knox Press best sellers such as Genesis and First and Second Samuel in the Interpretation series, An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination, and Reverberations of Faith: A Theological Handbook of Old Testament Themes.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 258 reviews
Profile Image for Erin Thomas.
27 reviews31 followers
May 20, 2013
It is almost cliche to say that our world has been numbed into apathy about a great many things, spirituality included. If fact, I believe it would be fair to say that many Christians have found their faith to be drained of mysticism and imagination. Taught that mysticism is evil or somehow against the Bible (untrue), evangelicals exhibit the same kind of legalism we point out in others. Services become a matter of "stand, sit, pray, sit, stand, [perhaps raise hands], sit, stand, listen to preacher and study the word like a textbook". My take could sound a bit harsh, but perhaps the urgency of needing new hope, a new language of hope, a new prophetic voice of compassion in a world that allows apathy to endure legalism is the better point I'm trying to make. Brueggeman opens wide the doors of heart, mind, body and soul so that believers can accept new breath from God into their lives. Challenging the dominant culture, he pokes into places taboo and pries into our social conscious an unconscious to become a true holy irritant.
Profile Image for Marty Solomon.
145 reviews436 followers
January 14, 2022
This book will be headed straight for the "every student must read" list. The list is short and doesn't necessarily contain my personal favorite books, but the books that are so helpful, so resourceful, that I cant imagine being a serious student and not engaging it. I have seen this book on so many bibliographies and heard it referenced so much, and now I know why.

In typical Brueggemann fashion, he has taken a short and concise read and power-packed it with meaning and things to consider. The book is "easy to read" and consume, but is also dense with subject matter and still likely comes in at a higher grade level for comprehension. It certainly is coming from a more academic perspective.

Yet the book is not solely aimed at the study of the prophetic. In a way that rivals Heschel, Brueggemann has truly taken time to consider who the prophet is and what the prophet does. But he also conducts this conversation in a way that begs us to consideration the implications for our world and what prophetic imagination we may need today. The book is one part study, one part reflection/application, and one part road map and is a must-read for any leader hoping to take the Text effectively into a [church]world that needs badly to be changed.
Profile Image for Sarah Eisele.
28 reviews6 followers
March 21, 2008
Reading this book was the first time I began to understand the Old Testament (or the Hebrew Scriptures). Brueggemann posits that a prophets job is to critizice, to point out the areas where a religious community is acting in opposition to God's principles, and energize, to encourage the community to return to God's love. This can be applied to such people as King David, Jeremiah, Amos, Abraham, and is to be reflected in modern-day preachers as well. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding the Hebrew Scriptures more fully.
Profile Image for Jacob Aitken.
1,587 reviews280 followers
August 4, 2011
Great in terms of propheticness, weak in terms of solution. Brueggemann appears to advocate perpetual socialist crisis as the ideal for living faith. A number of problems with his approach: he advocates that community must be formed around a prophetic leader. I agree, sort of. But for WB this prophetic leader is useless unless he has something to prophesy against. Thus there should be a perpetual bad guy, preferably white, male, and capitalistic. The philosophical marxism should be immediately apparent: perpetual crisis for perpetual flux and change.

Actually, for all of his talk about eschatology, he advocates a de-eschatologized marxism: perpetual class warfare without the "eschatological moment" when class is eliminated.

This book, for all of its problems, has its good moments. Unfortunately, its good moments only apply to communities that are highly disciplined and are able to appropriate their freedom in responsible manners. I have to be delicate here: WB picks some racially sensitive issues, but frames the debate in terms that the true solution cannot be mentioned (e.g., while it is good to talk about speaking the truth to power, this isn't always the reason that communities are oppressed. They can be lazy or idolatrous, etc; in fact, poverty often has moral implications/roots. Merely blaming the white guy without addressing the issue perpetues--oops!--the problem).
Profile Image for Adam Ross.
750 reviews95 followers
January 18, 2010
I had a lot of trouble with this book. I wanted to like it given how many people in so many corners have commended it to me. And there is true insight here, but I feel those insights are concealed by a theological project that cannot be maintained. Suffice it to say that when I read the prophets I do not see what he sees. This is likely my own failing, and if he is right I want to know it.

Nevertheless, his position is that the Kingship in Israel was a step backwards from the Mosaic "revolution" and that the Prophets and then later Jesus called Israel away from Kingship back to the original vision of Moses. An interesting thought for sure, and an intriguing one, but I was left unconvinced. I was thus unconvinced in three areas, 1) Kingship as regression, 2) affluence is bad, 3) the social vision of the Prophets.

(1) As regards the first, that the Kingship in Israel as a regression from the Mosaic establishment, I cannot but think Bruggermann is missing the big picture. He regards all Kingship, Kingship in itself, as bad. He tells us that "by the time of Solomon in 962 . . . there was a radical shift in the foundations of Israel's life and faith. . . . the shift has no doubt begun and been encouraged by David . . . the entire program of Solomon now appears to have been self-serving achievement with its sole purpose the self-securing of king and dynasty" (pp. 30) and goes so far as to claim that the "Jerusalem temple" was "surely the Canaanization of Israel" (31). Strong and, most importantly, universal claims.

It was not the sinful Solomon of later life that did these things, but Solomon from beginning to end. How this is squared with clear Scriptural testimony to the contrary is beyond me, for Bruggermann never addresses the fact that building the Jerusalem temple was God's idea in the first place (2 Sam. 7). Wisdom, at least in Solomon, according to Bruggermann, is "an effort to rationalize reality, i.e., to package it in manageable portions" (31). This simply is not the case. Granting the fact that Solomon was a fan of wisdom, the portrayal of Wisdom personified in Proverbs is completely positive, and nowhere else in the Bible can be found the slightest suggestion that this presentation of her is wrong. Further, wisdom was always encouraged by God, and in fact Solomon's achievement of wisdom is not a regression away from the Mosaic institution, but is instead its fulfillment (Deut 4:6; 34;9; 2 Sam. 14:20).

Further still, Solomon's request for wisdom is portrayed positively and his wisdom is said to be governing Israel to "do justice" (1 Kings 3:28). In the narrative, Solomon is the first fulfillment of the Abrahamic promises, something which Bruggermann quotes but apparently does not realize. He quotes 1 Kings 4:20-23, which includes mention of "Judah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea," a clear allusion back to God's promise to Abraham (Gen. 22:17-18). This passage in Genesis also says that through Abraham "shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice" (22:18). This too finds its first fulfillment in Solomon, whose wisdom was greater and more famous than any in the Gentile worlds (1 Kings 4:30-31); his wisdom brings the glory of the Gentiles in, a direct fulfillment of the promise to Abraham (1 Kings 4:34). Far from being a regression, Solomon's reign is a fulfillment of the older order.

(2) Bruggermann's second point to which I object is that affluence is bad. It is, however, necessary to temper my point here by saying that obviously an affluence which is self-serving and inwardly focused is no good - but to say that is to say no more than what God Himself has said. There is nothing wrong with wealth and riches and affluence, but when affluence becomes consumerism, then the problem begins and then my own denunciations are initiated. To establish the (obviously evil) affluence of Israel, Bruggermann quotes 1 Kings 4:20-23 and notes that "never before had there been enough consumer goods to remove the anxiety about survival" (32), and apparently our response to this terrible state of affairs is to shake our heads sadly and say "darn!" It really is too bad the "world of scarcity" (32) and daily struggles for survival that exemplified the "counter-culture of Moses" (32) have been eliminated. He does not seem to understand that the two incidents he points out (manna from heaven and unleavened bread - taking only what is needed for the basest of survivals) were both incidents as Israel wandered futilely in the desert as punishment for cowardice. Scraping for survival is not conducive to domesticating the world (taking dominion) or the advancement of culture.

Bruggermann also clearly believes in the zero-sum fallacy, arguing that "eating that well means food is being taken off the tale of another" (33). This too is not true, for the text clearly tells us that this great affluence was among "every man" of Israel: "every man under his vine and under his fig tree" had safety (1 Kings 4:25), telling us they had their own properties and gardens. Not only, but "all who came to King Solomon's table, each one in his month. They let nothing be lacking" (1 Kings 4:27), and all Israel "ate and drank and were happy" (1 Kings 4:20). The whole land dwelt in peace and safety (1 Kings 4:24). This is not a narrative of evil consumerism. These are clear fulfillments of the promised blessings for faithfulness given to . . . Moses (Deut. 28). Notice how much affluence God promises to Moses, by the way; if Israel is faithful God will bestow her with economic affluence and political influence (Deut. 28:4-5, 8, 10-13), just as came about under Solomon's reign. The writer of Kings is clearly alluding back to Moses and Abraham in depicting the rise of Solomon's kingdom. Nevertheless, all of this wealth was a temptation, and thus God warned Israel through Moses (!) that the riches they will aquire could be their downfall if they were not received in faith (Deut. 8:17-18), and it is precisely this that Solomon forgets later in his reign. If we relegate some of Bruggermann's comments on the dangers of affluence to the sinful end of Solomon's reign, then I can begin to agree with him more. It is not kingship that is sinful, but rather sinful kingship; it is not affluence, but ungrateful affluence that is evil. We must not forget to share with one another in our bounty (2 Cor. 8:13-14) in an imitation of the self-giving of the Triune fellowship.

(3) Bruggermann's reading of the prophets, I think, also loses sight of what they were really getting at. They were not pre-modern hippies, wandering around spreading alternative communities, subversive narratives, and anti-imperial sermons. They were not criticising the Kingship as such, nor were they there to give the people hope (in fact, most of the time just the opposite). Rather, the prophets came to announce to Israel their sin before God by going after other gods, playing the harlot to God-their-husband, revealing their liturgical and corruptions, and laying before them their sins. They were God's covenantal lawyers bringing to bear upon Israel the lawsuit of the covenant (much as I loath the law-categories). Insofar as Bruggermann emphasizes elements that come as part of the rejection and turning from (mostly) liturgical (but also social, it must be admitted) sin is to the extent that he has confused the prophetic role in my estimation.

Happy to be corrected, of course.
Profile Image for Rafael Sales.
102 reviews
July 1, 2020
I'm without word on this book!

This book brings me a new way to see the suffering in the world and like a Christian how I might to embrace the grief and show the hope in Christ!

I recommend this book ever!
Profile Image for Laura.
93 reviews
November 9, 2013
This is the best book I have ever read for understanding the prophets and prophecy genre in the Bible. Brueggemann points out that the work of a prophet is to criticize and energize. Provocatively, he opines that liberal Christianity is good at criticizing the Church and that conservative Christianity is good at energizing it. The two sides hold the related priorities of the compassion/justice of God and the freedom of God, respectively.

Moses is a prophet who calls out to the people of God in a way that re-imagines what that community could be. He is speaking out against the royal establishment as part of an oppressed people group.

In the period of Solomon, the leaders of Israel are well within the royal establishment. Thus the temptation is for the freedom of God and compassion for the marginalized to both be subverted into the interests of the King. The task of the prophet here was to break through the numbness of the royal consciousness. Lament is the primary tone of prophets toward the royal consciousness.

Israel is again the minority culture during the life of Christ, and in his prophetic role, Jesus counters the claims of the royal consciousness and stands in solidarity with the marginal. The resurrection announces the freedom, power, and justice of God.

The Church, likewise, must continually be a self-criticizing and energizing agent, by recovering its disruptive faith tradition and creating an underived community.

I highly recommend this book for those who want to understand the prophecy genre in the Bible. Also recommended for those take on a prophetic role (such as preaching), as the book points the way toward assisting other Christians in envisioning a more faithful community.
9 reviews4 followers
April 5, 2008
Brueggemann is a refreshingly brilliant OT scholar who wrestles with the text and draws scarily prophetic application. This book really makes me take a hard look at the dominant cultural script in America.
Profile Image for Aaron Guest.
138 reviews6 followers
December 21, 2016
12/21/2016: read again. And can't think of a more penetrating, immediate must-read for "orphaned believers"-- to borrow the OtR lyric. Filled with insight and commentary on the OT that bears remarkable and necessary relevance to today.

6/22/2015: A book I will return to again and again.
23 reviews2 followers
July 28, 2014
Brueggemann's imagination about how to live out kin-dom continues to challenge me to expand my thinking process.
Profile Image for Parker Friesen.
100 reviews2 followers
December 27, 2022
Excellent read, helpful for reframing the prophetic task from either a mere railing against society now, and a mere looking forward to things to come.

Particularly good were the sections on Jeremiah's ministry as the weeping prophet as necessary to the prophetic task:

"Hope expressed without a knowledge of and participation in grief is likely to be false hope that does not reach despair." (67)

And the section on compassion as a force that cannot be corrupted by empire (or royal order in his words).

Excellent read. Also fairly approachable.

Profile Image for Ryan Ward.
337 reviews12 followers
December 13, 2020
Brueggemann explains the true and specific nature of prophecy. He argues beautifully that the real purpose of prophetic imagination is to criticize the current political and economic status quo while energizing the faithful to see and realize a new reality. His readings of Old Testament prophets are incisive and stunning, as is his treatment of the entire topic.
Profile Image for Sonny.
444 reviews32 followers
September 12, 2016
Walter Brueggemann’s book “The Prophetic Imagination” is a book that addresses a worthwhile subject but proposes all the wrong answers. He contends that the contemporary American church is “so largely enculturated to the American ethos of consumerism that it has little power to believe or to act.” I can hardly quarrel with his premise. The problem I have with Brueggemann is that his book doesn't provide any biblically sound answers.

Bruggermann's reading of the prophets loses sight of God’s purposes. He contends that it was the task of the prophetic community “to present an alternative consciousness that can energize the community.” Brueggemann seems to view God as nothing more than a bystander. Suffice it to say that when I read the prophets I do not see what he sees. They were not calling the people to an “alternative reality.” They were not criticizing the King, nor were they there to give the people hope. Rather, the Old Testament prophets spoke to Israel in times of moral crisis. A prophet was and is a spokesperson for God. He admonishes, warns, directs, encourages, intercedes, teaches and counsels. He brings the word of God to the people of God and calls the people to respond.

A second, significant problem with the book is its language. Brueggemann’s "conversational style" produces a verbose and jerky read. His thoughts are disorganized, as he engages in a rather messy attempt to create a new lingo. One reviewer rightly referred to it as “high-brow babble.” The emergent and universalist language of “consciousness” and “alternative realities” made me uneasy and greatly hindered my understanding of his book.

I had a lot of trouble with this book. It seems to me that this is humanism with a Christian label slapped on it. He has done nothing more than supply his own reasoning to the understanding of scripture. I was frankly misled by the many reviews that so highly commended his book. Had I known that Brueggemann was a liberal theologian from the emergent culture, I would never have read the book. If you're looking for answers to concerns about the consumer mentality that pervades much of the western church, don't look to this book for any help. If you’ve not really read the prophets and are willing to settle for inaccurate biblical references espousing social justice, then you might like this book.
Profile Image for Alex Strohschein.
702 reviews103 followers
October 17, 2017
I absolutely love the cover, but alas, the book seemed to me tediously repetitive. One problem with a book like this, being as influential as it is (I wanted to like it!), is that a lot of its thought has already been filtered down through other books I have read. As others point out, there are also some questionable interpretations made by Walter Brueggemann regarding the biblical text; I cannot speak to that but it does feel like Brueggemann reads the present into the past. I do appreciate the call to carry out the "prophetic imagination;" one of the problems of the contemporary church is we lack the ability to inculcate such an imagination.
Profile Image for Alex.
137 reviews18 followers
March 28, 2021
Just, wow.

I highly recommend reading this book alongside John Paul Lederach’s “The Moral Imagination” for reasons that will be made clear.

This book is an amazing call for reformation within our own thinking, our communities, and our own lives. Without any spoilers, all I can say is that this short but incredibly influential work is worth every minute put into it.
Profile Image for Luke Wagner.
167 reviews10 followers
July 18, 2022
Walter Brueggemann's classic work on prophetic ministry is short, but filled with a number of good insights. The book explores "the task of prophetic ministry," which, according to Brueggemann, "is to nurture, nourish, and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture around us" (13). The prophetic representatives that Brueggemann examines specifically are Moses and his alternative community (chap. 1), Jeremiah and his "ministry of grief" (chap. 3), Second Isaiah and his "ministry of hope" (chap. 4), and Jesus of Nazareth (chaps. 5-6). In contrast to the prophetic "alternative community," there are Pharaoh (chap. 1), Solomon (chap. 2), and Herod (chap. 5)—all of whom represent the "royal consciousness."

The high point of the book is in chapters 3 and 4, wherein Brueggemann looks at Jeremiah's pathos and prophetic criticism (chap. 3), and Second Isaiah's message of hope, in an attempt to energize the people of Israel in exile (chap. 4). Jeremiah's goal, in Brueggemann's reading, was to "cut through the numbness, to penetrate the self-deception" (49) of the "royal consciousness" in Israel. And specifically, Jeremiah's ministry was one of grief, which sought to proclaim the end of the old order/regime. Prophetic criticism, then, is not "anger"—as it is commonly thought today—but "anguish" (80). However, not only are prophets meant to criticize with pathos, but also energize with hope. According to Brueggemann, prophetic ministry needs to both criticize and energize. It is not enough for the prophet to simply "show that the dominant consciousness … will indeed end and that it has no final claim upon us"; rather, the prophet must also "present an alternative consciousness that can energize the community to fresh forms of faithfulness and vitality" (62).

Brueggemann's chapter on the Solomonic regime shows how the monarchy in Israel, under the leadership of Solomon, began to mimic the empires around Israel, rather than embrace Moses's alternative community. Solomon's reign was characterized both by the "economics of affluence" and a "politics of oppression" (34), thus becoming the "dominant culture" against which stood the prophetic ministry and task. And according to Brueggemann, Solomon's regime was made possible because of the institutionalization of the Jerusalem cult and of the construction of the temple—which Brueggemann even refers to as the “Canaanization” of Israel (31). While I agree with much of Brueggemann’s overall assessment of the Solomonic program, I believe that he views the Solomonic temple far too negatively. Brueggemann finds that the "accessibility of God" in the temple counters the "freedom of God" that one experiences in Moses’ alternative community, because through the temple, "God is totally and unquestionably accessible to the king," meaning that "there is no notion that God is free and that he may act apart from and even against this regime" (35). Brueggemann, however, does not take into adequate consideration the role of the tabernacle when he contrasts the Mosaic program with the Solomonic program. It does not follow that God's "freedom" was on display with Moses and the tabernacle, but that God was too "accessible" during the time of Solomon and the temple. Both the tabernacle and the temple testify to both the "freedom" and the "accessibility" of a God who is, at one and the same time, "imminent" and "transcendent," "free" to do as God pleases and yet "covenanted" to a people and to creation. Brueggemann thus creates a false and unnecessary dichotomy between God’s "accessibility" and God’s "freedom." By associating the temple with the excesses of the empire, and thereby, pitting the prophetic ministry against the temple and its worship of the God of Israel, Brueggemann even goes against the testimony of the prophets themselves on occasion.

Still, this book is an important work, and Brueggemann is a wonderful writer and an insightful reader of the biblical text. Anyone interested in the prophetic ministry (both in the Bible and today) would do well to pick up this book.
Profile Image for Grant Showalter-Swanson.
130 reviews3 followers
December 2, 2020
I have gleaned much from this text and will be unpacking it’s lessons for weeks, maybe even a lifetime!

“It is the vocation of the prophet to keep alive the ministry of imagination, to keep on conjuring and proposing futures alternative to the single one the king wants to urge as the only thinkable one. Indeed, poetic imagination is the last way left in which to challenge and conflict the dominant reality” (Brueggemann 40).

The task of the prophet has three parts:
“1. To offer symbols that are adequate to confront the horror and massiveness of the experience that invokes numbness and requires denial.
2. To bring to public expression those very fears and terrors that have been denied so long and suppressed so deeply that we do not know they are there.
3. To speak metaphorically but concretely about the real deathliness that hovers over us and gnaws within us, and to speak neither in rage nor with cheap grace, but with the candor born of anguish and passion” (Brueggeman 45).

“ I need hardly a test that the profound tension between totalism and prophetic imagination is ferociously active among us as Donald Trump has eagerly become the point person for such a totalism.... The outcome of that unapologetic ideology is the monetizing of all social relationships, the commoditization of all social possibilities, and the endless production of dispensable persons who have no legitimate membership in the totalism.... For that reason, it follows that ours is a time for prophetic imagination, the capacity to host a world other than the one sponsored and legitimated by market ideology. In the contemporary practice a prophetic imagination, it will be important (1) to move the church from its comfortable habit of charity to issues of justice; (2) to move the church to a systemic awareness of ways to “follow the money“; (3) to show the ways in which the old traditions of the God of the covenant makes righteousness, justice, and faithfulness central to common life in a way that resituates money, power, and wisdom (see Jer. 9:23-24; Matt. 23:23); and (4) to see how a theology of the cross contradicts are more comfortable, convenient theology is of glory. It is a time for the courage and freedom to engage in contestation with the totalism among us that is killing in its force and authority” (Brueggeman 131-32).

Profile Image for David.
186 reviews8 followers
December 26, 2020
I picked this book up years ago, during my seminary days, but never got around to it. I was finally drawn to read it as I recently started a read through all of the biblical prophets (Isaiah - Malachi). It's pretty short (~100 pages) and it was a good read.

I was struck by Brueggemann’s assessment of the task of prophetic ministry: "to nurture, nourish, and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture around us." He argues that the dominant culture is uncritical and weary, therefore, prophetic ministry is meant to hold together criticism and energizing.

With Solomon, the people of God were satiated with consumer goods and thus became satiated like never before. The prophet is opposed to this royal consciousness that embodies a numbness about suffering and death and a denial about endings. The task of prophetic imagination is to penetrate the dominant community's self-deception about its self-madeness, to help people grieve the end of the “whole royal arrangement”, and to bring people to engage "the promise of newness that is at work in our history with God.”

Brueggemann points out that Jesus presented the ultimate criticism of the royal consciousness and that he dismantled the dominant culture and nullified its claims. He did this through his compassion for and solidarity with the marginalized, his readiness to forgive sin, his ability to heal (especially on the Sabbath), and ultimately through the cross, where God himself embraced the death that his people must die. Like prophets before him, Jesus also provides energy to those for whom the present has become unbearable, by articulating a future where God’s people are able to experience joy, healing, and forgiveness.
Profile Image for Shawn Enright.
144 reviews4 followers
December 1, 2020
This is one of the most formative books on my faith, and I will need to re-read it. Brueggemann is essential reading for Christians in the modern world--especially in the time of BLM and COVID, when injustice is perhaps more "obvious."

Brueggemann's thesis, that the prophet is one who both has and reveals the ability to dismantle systems of injustice by disrupting what Brueggemann calls "the royal conscious," will ring especially true with people who value language and articulation. Framing the prophets' use of poetry, Brueggemann argues that *voice* is the most threatening agent to empire. Here is a quote to illustrate his idea:

"The language of empire is surely the language of managed reality, of production and schedule and market. But that language will never permit or cause freedom because there is no newness in it. Doxology is the ultimate challenge to the language of managed reality, and it alone is the universe of discourse in which energy is possible" (18).

God, and the language we use for and about God, is energizing, dynamic, and will always produce life. It is just, in other words. So, for Christians who are readers and writers, Brueggemann proves helpful in articulating precisely *why* and *how* reading and writing can fundamentally alter reality in positive, new ways.
Profile Image for Deborah Brunt.
111 reviews3 followers
December 18, 2020
A beautiful synthesis of the prophetic imagination as both the critique of the domination system/empire and the energising of an alternate community consciousness, of grief and death due to harms of the past/present with the hope and life and resurrection in the present/future. Brueggemann also describes the concrete enactment or embodiment of the prophetic imagination in ministry and provides a way for us to begin to manifest the prophetic imagination in our own lives and communities.
Profile Image for Morgan Bell.
12 reviews1 follower
May 12, 2018
Brueggemann offers a stellar and sweeping biblical exegesis to build a prophetic ecclesiology ultimately grounded in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Profile Image for Gretchen.
143 reviews2 followers
August 15, 2019
L O V E this one - it was not an easy read but it was like excavating one thought-provoking treasure after another.
Profile Image for CJ.
85 reviews1 follower
December 29, 2020
“The language of amazement is against the despair just as the language of grief is against the numbness.”
Profile Image for Graydon Jones.
295 reviews4 followers
May 1, 2022
Bruggeman offers revelatory perspective on the prophets’ role in resisting the “royal consciousness” that numbs humanity and resists the truth. He does so by drawing on the concept of imagination and creativity, which was inspiring and insightful. This is a prophetic message that will be relevant so long as empires exist.
18 reviews
January 7, 2020
We need a generation to rise up and give the imagination of heaven... less noise of all that’s wrong with the way things are and more leadership to what is the heart of God.

Another mandatory read.
Profile Image for Erin Henry.
1,196 reviews9 followers
July 9, 2019
I don't think I can summarize this book better than the author can. He discussed the purpose of prophecy in the Bible and how it still applies now: "On the one hand, Jeremiah practices the radical criticism against the royal consciousness. He does this essentially by conjuring a funeral and bringing the grief of dying Israel to public expression. He does this to penetrate then umb denial of the royal community, which pretended that things must go on forever. On the other hand, Second Isaiah practices radical energizing against the royal consciousness. He does this by conjuring an enthronement and bringing the amazement of rebirth Israel to public expression. He does this to penetrate the weary despair of the royal community, which assumed things were over forever." Grief and hope are what the prophets cry out to use in order to break us from our stupor.
Profile Image for Cory Shumate.
78 reviews5 followers
January 29, 2020
Insightful and timely

This has been on my list for a while. I regret I didn’t get to it sooner. WB lays out a theme of prophetic paradigm and speech that is really timely, given our current political climate. There’s so much to glean here as a pastor that I know I’ll be revisiting it again and again.
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