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Returning from the Abyss

Pivotal Moments in the Book of Jeremiah

Availability:
1-2 days processing
Publisher:
Westminster John Knox Press
Publication Date:
3/22/2022
ISBN:
9780664266868
Pages:
188
Trim Size
5.5 x 8.5
Product Type:
Paper

The Pivotal Moments in the Old Testament series helps readers see Scripture with new eyes, highlighting short, key texts—pivotal moments—that shift our expectations and invite us to turn toward another reality transformed by God’s purposes and action.

 

The book of Jeremiah tells the story of a prophetic mission that seems doomed to fail. God instructs Jeremiah to call to account a people who refuse to turn from their unfaithfulness until it is too late, and they encounter destruction at the hands of the Babylonians. Yet underlying the themes of warning and judgment is a steady refrain: God’s desire to draw God’s people back into covenant, even when things seem past the point of no return. What lessons can contemporary readers draw from the narrative of a stubborn people who cling to their exploitative ways and a God who, even so, relentlessly pursues them? In Returning from the Abyss, Walter Brueggemann explores the historical and literary context of the book of Jeremiah to illuminate the dual themes of Israel’s long walk into, and out of, the trauma and devastation of exile.

 

Throughout, Brueggemann points out the role of the prophet in overturning a people’s illusory sense of security in unjust structures that are not of God and leading those same people toward the hope of restoration and return. He also highlights the persistent themes of empire, self-sufficiency, and withholding from neighbor that inform the narratives of both Israel and “American exceptionalism” and examines how the holiness of God is at work in untamed historical processes that point us toward a costly hope for a just economic and political future.

Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, he is the author of dozens of books, including Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of NowA Gospel of Hope, and Interrupting Silence: God’s Command to Speak Out.


Brent A. Strawn is Professor of Old Testament and Professor of Law at Duke University. Previously, he was the William Ragsdale Cannon Distinguished Professor of Old Testament at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He is the author of numerous articles, chapters, and books, including The Old Testament Is Dying: A Diagnosis and Recommended Treatment and The Old Testament: A Concise Introduction.
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“As a preacher, I am grateful to Walter Brueggemann for this powerful, accessible, and inspiring Bible study and for reminding me of what it means to be a prophet. Living in an age of pandemic, political polarization, and environmental disaster has made it more challenging than ever to stand before a congregation and offer a word from the Lord. Thank you, Dr. Brueggemann, for bringing us a fresh perspective.”

-Rev. Dr. Carol T. Cavin-Dillon, Senior Pastor, West End United Methodist Church

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