Prophetic Imagination (Brueggemann)

Brueggemann, Walter. Prophetic Imagination. Fortress Press.

As with all of Brueggemann’s works, it is rich in insight and weak in depth.

Great in terms of theoretical critique, 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. WB 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. Usually, the oppressive power is often connected with government bureaucracies).


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