The Prophetic Imagination

Was updating my Bibliophilia page, and thought that it should probably just spill over into a main-page post.

Not entirely coincidentally, Matt and I are both reading Bruggeman’s The Prophetic Imagination right now. (I finished Yancey… for a little while.)

I still owe a couple posts to the “scripture interpretation” joint-blogging project. But after that, I look forward to bouncing a lot of ideas around with Matt about this book. In just the preface alone, I can already see some stuff that I don’t already entirely agree with, even though I think the book overall will be a very profound and stretching read. I really don’t like only reading things that I have a hard time disagreeing with, or reading things where I only disagree with nit-picky non-central details.

Walter Bruggeman does strike me as a very well-intentioned, moderate, and honest scholar. Contrary to the polarizing nature of some of our contemporary writers and thinkers, Bruggeman refuses to point ideological fingers in only one direction. When there’s criticism to dish out, he legitimately applies it to errors that lie in both ends of the lib-con spectrum. (A popular criticism of someone matching this description might be a “fence-sitter;” Bruggeman’s constant proposal to hold things in tension and let extremes supplement each other is far from fence-sitting.)

Anyway, just a couple main ideas that stand out from the preface:

The prophetic voice no longer has significant social or moral clout, so it must therefore be very sharp. “Cunning… nuanced… perhaps ironic.”

The pairing of “prophetic” with “imagination” leads us in a creative, artistic direction that will not be eagerly adopted (nor allow itself to be domesticated) by the hegemonic majority’s dominant paradigm of interpretation.

One thing that Shedden and I were talking about today is the headiness of P.I., and I kinda said that the book seems to have profound pastoral value. But if the greater portion of pomo Christ-followers are going to begin to live out the p.i., it will be their pastors who explained and lead and urged them into it. I don’t think that Joe Christian will put in the effort to read this book. (But that’s ok!)

One response to “The Prophetic Imagination

  1. Hi Russell – It’s cool to see that you’re reading Brueggemann. I haven’t read that particular book, but I’ve read some of his other stuff. I’m acutally using an article of his called “Preaching as Reimagination” for a paper right now. I’ll look forward to reading more about what you think of “The Prophetic Imagination”!


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